Hundreds of Gold Coast students, locals and visitors have celebrated the city’s rich cultural diversity by forming a Human Rainbow at iconic Kurrawa Beach on Wednesday 4 April.
As the sun rose on the first morning of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, people representing many nations and territories gathered on the Kurrawa sand — in the Gold Coast suburb of Broadbeach — to join in the colourful symbolic gesture.
Also joining the Human Rainbow was Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games the Honourable Kate Jones MP, who said: “A welcoming environment, both people and place, are the foundation for great student experiences”.
“That is why we are working with Gold Coast to cement its place as one of Australia’s leading student cities and the legacy of Games infrastructure such as improved transport and accommodation will enable a great platform for growth,” she said.
The minister was joined by City of Gold Coast Deputy Mayor Cr Donna Gates, Cr Glen Tozer, Cr Cameron Caldwell, Cr Pauline Young and former Queensland Premier and Chair of Study Gold Coast the Honorable Rob Borbidge.
The Human Rainbow was part of Study Gold Coast’s Embracing Diversity campaign, which is showing the world why the Gold Coast is the ideal destination for domestic and international students. The Gold Coast is currently home to 25,000 international students from 130 nationalities.
Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby said the Gold Coast, which was recently voted Australia’s number one study destination, “is a richly diverse multicultural society with almost one-third of its residents born overseas”.
“Our city is a welcoming one with such a vibrant student population,” she said.
“Our Human Rainbow was driven by our students who wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the Gold Coast’s multicultural community.”
“It’s such a beautiful and vibrant visual metaphor for unity through embracing diversity in our community. It embodies the spirit of the city and the Commonwealth Games. I can’t think of a better day to hold the event than on the first morning of the Games, when tens of thousands of visitors are joining us.” Ms Willoughby said a welcoming and diverse student community was a key driver for potential students when choosing a study destination.
“We want to spread the word globally that we welcome all students to the Gold Coast while the spotlight is on our city,” she said.
The Gold Coast is expected to welcome more than 670,000 visitors during the Games, along with a television audience of 1.5 billion. The biggest event in the Gold Coast’s history, it is also the largest sporting event in Australia this decade.
Ashmita Nath from Nepal, a Bachelor of Accounting student at Southern Cross University, said she wanted to be part of the morning’s event because she’s never felt so accepted anywhere than when she came to the Gold Coast.
“I’ve been to many different cities and the Gold Coast is the best one I feel that really embraces culture and accepts everyone,” she said.
Sisters Nicole and Alexia David, from India, said being part of the Human Rainbow was about sharing their culture and a way of meeting new friends.
“I wanted to be part of this, with so many people coming together – it’s such a good feeling,” Alexia said.
Nicole said the Gold Coast was a melting pot of diversity.
“I have lived on the Gold Coast for three years now, with friends of varying ages, cultures and ethnicities. We have so many different passions and aspirations, and yet we can pursue our dreams together, as friends, on the Gold Coast,” she said.
“Everyone is so accepting, understanding and caring that I have grown to accept the Gold Coast as my home away from home.”
Tony Murphy, from Myanmar, said as an international student the Human Rainbow was a perfect representation of how the Gold Coast supported people from all walks of life.
“I am really grateful to be apart of today, because it shows that no matter who you or where you are from the Gold Coast community supports you,” he said.