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Whadjuk Noongar Country
Level 1, 1 Nash St
Perth WA 6000

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Perth, WA 6849

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Cultural Diversity Benefits WANADA

Cultural Diversity Benefits WANADA

Turkish, Spanish, German and French are all languages fluently spoken by members of the WANADA team. Harmony Week 2024 has provided us with an opportunity to celebrate the many cultures that come together at WANADA and to reflect on what this brings to our work.

WANADA’s Administration and Support Officer Helin Cimen says that joining the WANADA team felt easier because of its cultural mix.

“I’m a Kurdish woman born in Istanbul in Turkey,” says Helin. “Having grown up in a multicultural city like Istanbul, I always appreciate places with cultural diversity.”

To Helin, cultural diversity means colours, empathy, solidarity, languages, music, and food.

“It means understanding each other’s differences and having respect and curiosity,” says Helin.

WANADA Policy and Project Officer Christel Barthelemy grew up in the Pays de la Loire region of North West France.

“Having colleagues from different places and growing up abroad is a great way to think outside the box,” says Christel. “ It facilitates having a growth mindset of embracing people’s talents in many shapes and forms, continually learning and addressing challenges in new and innovative ways. “

“Showing interest and sharing experiences of growing up in a different country empowers individuals and creates a workplace culture that values diverse contributions beyond people’s cultural backgrounds.”

Helin says that organisations with culturally diverse teams can support their staff by promoting a shared workplace culture of respect and equity.

“Joining such a team helped me feel confident in my strengths without worrying about fitting in or being accepted.”

Christel believes that an organisational culture of curiosity and sharing between staff helps.

“The broad underlying idea is that there is no one way to do things and to remain open-minded.”

Helin says that this places WANADA in a better position to represent and support the WA alcohol and other drug sector as its peak body.

“People who use alcohol and other drugs in Western Australia come from a diversity of cultural backgrounds, ages, and social status,” says Helin. “I think our WANADA team fully reflects this diversity and is therefore better able to understand, support, and represent the people in the alcohol and other drug sector.”

Picture: Helin Cimen and Christel Barthelemy at WANADA’s Harmony Week morning tea.