Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance

Sahana SehgalPhD Candidate



Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra

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Sahana’s PhD thesis is tentatively entitled ‘Negotiating the Future of Multiculturalism and Diversity for Australia’. Her research project seeks to improve the policy and practice of multiculturalism in Australia by identifying pathways to deepen social cohesion amongst migrant and CALD communities. Australia’s current multiculturalism policy focuses mainly on the programs and services provided by the government to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. It does not stress on inter-community cultural exchange or the power dynamics that underpin these exchanges. Research, so far, has focused on access and inclusion for migrants from a service delivery perspective. However, Australia’s future, with respect to migration and multiculturalism, will reveal many more challenging policy questions.

The project aims to investigate the following questions:

  • How can Australia best manage its diversity in the long term?
  • In the long term, would multiculturalism be enough to ensure social cohesion and collective efficacy?
  • What role do current multicultural services (e.g., community broadcasting) play in enhancing intercultural engagement and creating a multicultural public sphere in Australia?

PhD Supervisors

  • A/Prof Selen Ercan (Primary Supervisor)
  • Prof Kim Rubenstein (Secondary Supervisor)

Sahana is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Her research focuses on multiculturalism and cultural diversity. She is interested in investigating the lack of intercultural engagement amongst migrant communities in Australia.

Before moving to Australia, Sahana completed her Bachelor of Mass Media (Journalism) from the University of Mumbai. Sahana worked in the social impact and community services sector in India. As a Teach for India Fellow (2013- 2015) and briefly as a Program Coordinator for the iTeach Fellowship (2015-2016), Sahana worked towards improving achievement outcomes for public school students and teaching graduates. Following which, she worked as a Milaap Fellow (2016), exploring microfinance and skill development in rural Tamil Nadu, India.

Sahana moved to Australia to complete her Master of International Relations (2017- 2018) from the Australian National University (ANU). Sahana briefly worked as a Sessional Academic for the Indian Security and Foreign Policy course, taught at the ANU. She is employed at the Canberra Multicultural Service (FM 91.1) and works in collaboration with ethnic language broadcasters and coordinators; actively seeking, developing and maintaining partnerships with external stakeholders; and managing grants, and community engagement initiatives and media projects.

  • ‘Negotiating Multiculturalism: The Linear and the Lateral.’ 3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference, 12 February 2020. Western Sydney University, Australia.
  • ‘Negotiating Multiculturalism: The Linear and the Lateral.’ Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) Conference, October 2019.
Public Engagement
  • University of Canberra and Canberra Multicultural Service Co-Funded Stipend Scholarship, 2021-2025.
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