For Farida Baremgayabo, who came to Newcastle seven years ago, multiculturalism and inclusion are not mere buzzwords.
Ms Baremgayabo and her family fled the civil war of central-African nation Burundi 23 years ago. She spent years seeking shelter in refugee camps and other African cities, where the inter-ethnic violence of ther homeland had spilled over.
Now the president of the Hunter African Communities Council, Ms Baremgayabo is one of the organisers of the Unity in Diversity Festival to be held in Gregson Park, Hamilton, on Saturday June 22.
Organised by a collection of community groups and services, the festival gives Novocastrians the chance to try food from Syria to Sierra Leone, learn a language, a traditional craft, or receive a makeover, Mauritian style.
The multicultural festival, Ms Baremgayabo said, was an opportunity for different cultural groups to share traditions with each other, but also pass them onto younger generations. Burundi dancers will perform.
"I love it," she said. "It reminds me of back home."
Festival organisers Jo McGregor and Anne Hayter said that over the past five years the festival had also served as a springboard for refugees starting businesses in the city.
"One of our first food store's is now Sham's Afghan Kebabs in Honeysuckle," Ms Hayter said.
For Diana Rah, another organiser, the most important aspect of the day is giving people the opportunity to meet others different to themselves.
"Knowing each other breaks down the misconceptions and the fears."
Ms Barembayabo agreed.
"We must promote that peace," she said.