The University of Newcastle, Australia

Unity in diversity

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

International students went head to head with the region's police officers today for a friendly beach soccer tournament to encourage positive community relations.

World Cup

More than 50 UON international students from 21 countries participated in the Inaugural Newcastle Beach Soccer Tournament, which kicked off at 10am this morning at Newcastle's Nobbys Beach.

The round-robin tournament is designed to celebrate diversity and showcase the power of soccer in uniting youth.

University of Newcastle International Director Mr Brett Blacker said the event aimed to provide a catalyst for friendly interaction between all involved.

"Integrating our international students into the local community is imperative for their development, as well as local community growth," Mr Blacker said.

"The tournament is sure to be a fun and interactive day, and will celebrate sport and its many benefits ahead of Newcastle hosting the Asian World Cup in 2015."

The tournament is just one of the measures used by the NSW Police Force to reach out to international students and show that the community is there to help.

Superintendent John Gralton, Commander of Newcastle City Local Area Command, said event organisers were hoping to make the tournament an ongoing event to help ensure positive community relations.

"Beach soccer promotes social inclusion and personal change for participants by providing support and promoting participation, inclusiveness, commitment and team spirit," Superintendent Gralton said.

"With more than 50 students participating from countries including Brazil, Canada, USA, India, Sudan and China, as well as support provided by corporate groups and government agencies, this is an excellent opportunity to promote positive interactions between everyone involved."

The Beach Soccer Tournament is support by Allianz Global Assistance, Newcastle City Council, Nobbys Surf Life Saving Club and the Beach Soccer Association of NSW.

ABC online: Students take on police in soccer tournament

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