About 400 students from 15 schools around South Australia will come together for a football carnival with a difference this week, all in the name of celebrating cultural vibrancy and the diversity of the community.

In Refugee Week, the Port Adelaide Football Club will host its annual Power Intercultural Program Carnival at Karen Rolton Oval on Friday 25 June.

The Power Intercultural Program (PIP) is an education-focussed program run by Port Adelaide’s community arm Power Community Limited. The program is designed to celebrate the vibrancy of cultural diversity and expression, and promote inclusion and social cohesion by recognising the positive contribution of different cultures within Australia. 

Delivered to students in years 10 and 11 from schools across the state with large multicultural populations, PIP uses current and past Port Adelaide Football Club players and female role models to help students explore their own culture, Indigenous cultures and other cultures within their school community to develop an understanding of the differences and similarities. 

“The Power Intercultural Program has engaged more than 200 ethnic groups, and is integrated within the South Australian Certificate of Education, allowing students to receive credits for their work,” said GM – Power Community Limited, Jake Battifuoco.

“The program also teaches students about the rules and skills involved in Australian Rules Football, allowing new arrivals and those who may not be as familiar with the game to feel more comfortable in being involved with a very Australian pastime. 

“In 2021, for the first time, the program includes students from a regional school, with Mount Gambier High School students to be among those concluding their studies at this week’s carnival.”

The program is delivered in partnership with the Department for Home Affairs to build strong, resilient, cohesive and harmonious communities to ensure that young people, families and communities have the opportunity to thrive, be free from intolerance and discrimination, and have the capacity to respond to emerging needs and challenges.

“Home Affairs has been pleased to support the Power Intercultural Program,” said Tania Gerlach, Regional Director South Australia, Department of Home Affairs.

“It’s so much more than some games of footy. It’s inspiring to see the students, from so many different cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds coming together, whether it’s to share stories at the leadership training, or getting creative in their guernsey designs, or united as a team going for the Cup. In a way, the program is Australian values – freedom, respect, fairness, equality of opportunity – in action.”

One of the activities during the program was for students to design their own guernseys to best represent the different cultures at their schools and explain their designs, with each school picking a winning design to wear at the carnival. As a proud partner of the program and club joint major partner, GFG’s logo features on all of the designs.

GFG will join the students at the carnival this week. The organisation will also be at the associated Careers Expo to support students as they prepare for further education and opportunities post their schooling.

Students at the recent PIP Leadership Forum were joined by Chris Ryan, GFG People Development Leader and also received words of encouragement from Jacqui Higgins, Head of Iron Ore Mines SIMEC Mining.

The best performed schools will play off in the carnival’s Grand Final, to be played as a curtain-raiser to Saturday's AFL clash between Port Adelaide and Sydney at Adelaide Oval, while the other students who have participated in the program will also be present to take part in a cultural performance and take in the AFL game – for some their first experience of Australian Rules Football.

The Power Intercultural Program is a partnership between the Port Adelaide Football Club, the Commonwealth Government Department of Home Affairs, the South Australian Education Department, GFG and OTR.