Program 2020

Explore the events of conference week, our amazing speakers and overview of sessions via our official program for 2020.
Don't forget this year we are going paper free. You can download a full pdf version or a simple timetable to your phone or laptop at the bottom of this page. Or add this page to your home screen and log into the conference wifi to keep on top of the week's events! 

9am - 4pm

QUT Collaborative Conversations: Co-creating a Research and Action Agenda

Hosted by QUT Faculty of Health on the Gardens Point Campus Collaborative Conversations is to gather individuals passionate about making a difference in the area of forced displacement. The event aims to gather diverse stakeholders to engage in a participatory day of co-creating a research and action agenda to improve our understanding of key issues in order to inform policies, programs, and promoting positive community experiences.


The morning sessions will focus on identifying critical issues and the research and action strategies needed to address those concerns. The aim is to work collaboratively across key stakeholders (e.g., community members and leaders, policy/advocacy organisations, the higher education and non-profit sectors) to discuss the challenges and opportunities for collaborative research agendas. Mapping exercises will help to identify key issues and recommendations for collaboration will be formed.

The afternoon sessions will focus on building strategies and momentum to advance this agenda, including facilitated conversations on media and messaging, and the role of artistry for advocacy and story-telling. Reserve you place HERE.


Find out about the different sessions & draft agenda here


Tickets on sale via Refugee Alternatives Eventbrite

10am - 5pm

Movement Networking Day

Every year, the Refugee Council of Australia brings together people from the campaigning and advocacy side of the refugee movement to meet, share updates and plan together.


Catering: Snacks and lunch will be provided for this event.


Cost: We are asking for nominal contributions to help us cover the costs of running the event. You can make this contribution as a donation after registering for the event. Our recommended donation amounts are: Waged: $40 | Unwaged: $20 | Refugee Community Member: Free . If cost is a barrier to you, please email Samuel at 



8:15am - 9:15am


Z Block Atrium

9.15am - 11.00am

Welcome and Plenary: The challenge of change


Host Grace Edward MyQ Youth Council, BEMAC


Welcome to country by Uncle Cheg QUT Elder-in-Residence

Indigenous contemporary dance by Aunty Jeanette Fabila

Welcome to conference  Beata Ostapiej-Piatkowski, Refugee Council of Australia and Associate Professor Renata Meuter, Head, School of Psychology and Counselling, QUT Faculty of Health.

Opening Session: The Challenge of Change

Zita Ngor, Women’s Legal Services SA
Kelly Nicholls, Refugee Council of Australia
Muzafar Al
i, Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre


RAPPP1 Main Auditorium

11:00am - 11:30am

Morning Tea

Z Block Atrium

11.30am - 1.00pm

Plenary: Unpacking lived experience leadership

In this session, we discuss the meaning of 'lived experience' within different contexts, and in relation to themes of representation, accountability, leadership, and solidarity. Speakers will examine the principles and complexities of meaningful engagement and leadership of people with first-hand experience of a particular issue, as well as the ethical, political and practical dimensions of doing so.


Mia-lia Boua Kiernan, International Detention Coalition


Shukufa Tahiri, Refugee Council of Australia
Nishadh Rego, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia
Zaki Haidari, Community Representative
Rhanna Collins, National Indigenous Television
Dominic Golding, National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Cyprien Ntezimana, Rwandan Association of Queensland


RAPPP 1 Main Auditorium

1:00pm - 2:15pm


Z Block Atrium 

1pm - 2.15pm

Lunchtime Side Session - Conference Participants Debrief @The Spot

Delegates are invited to continue and reflect upon the discussion from the opening plenary in an informal lunch session hosted by Manal Younus


The Spot

1.00pm - 2.15pm

Lunchtime Side Event - Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI)

Join the CRSI team for a discussion about community refugee sponsorship in Australia - what’s working, what needs improving and opportunities for future advocacy. Light lunch and refreshments provided.


Gibson Room

2.15pm - 3.45pm

Parallel Session: Spotlight on regional communities

The Australian Government recently announced plans to resettle 50% of refugees in regional areas. In this session, panellists will look at what this means for both the people in question and their host communities


Ana Pocrnjic, Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma


Emmanuel Mosinni, Regional Opportunities Australia
Apolina Balebanga, Multicultural Youth Queensland
Cr Paul Antonio ,Mayor Toowoomba Regional Council
Peta Marks, Federal For Refugees


RAPPP 1 Main Auditorium

2.15PM - 3.45pm

Parallel Session: What does ethical representation of refugees and refugee policy look like?

In this session, we examine the ethical representation of people from refugee backgrounds in the mainstream media; the implications of participating in media for people with lived experience; and the dominant and politicised narratives in mainstream media.


Shankar Kasynathan, Amnesty International Australia


Renee Dixson, Queer Sisterhood Project
Laura Stacey, Refugee Council of Australia
Stefan Armbruster, SBS World News
Grace Edward, Multicultural Youth QLD, BEMAC



2.15pm - 3.45pm

Parallel Session: How to hold the Government to account

This workshop offers refugee advocates an understanding of non-judicial accountability mechanisms and their potential use in client and policy work. It also offers an opportunity for new and seasoned advocates to share knowledge and practical action.

Raziq Qasimi, Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)


Savitri Taylor, La Trobe University
Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia



3.45pm - 4.00pm

Afternoon Tea

Z Block Atrium 

4.00pm - 5.00pm

Plenary Showcase: Ways of working: self-representation, collaboration and reconciliation

A showcase of local and national initiatives highlighting the collaboration of multiple service providers to deliver community-defined requirements.


Rnita Dacho, Refugee Council of Australia
Kelly Sibanda, Multicultural Australia


Speakers, Organisations/ Initatives 

Joseph Youhana, National Refugee Advocacy and Advisory Group

Gulnara Abbasova, Harmony Alliance

Vicky Jacobson, Sediqa Karimi and Donata Sackey, Refugee Health Network Queensland

Sally Baker, Sally Morgan and Aamir Ali, RESIG National Campaign #StudentsLikeUs

Anne Hilton,  Wayne Briscoe, Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance Program



5.15pm - 6.15pm

Special Session (Panel): Let's talk about mental health

This session will discuss how mental health is conceptualised and addressed from different cultural perspectives and the experiences of refugee communities’ in accessing the Australian mental health system.


Annabelle Allimant Community Member; Individual and Systems Advocate


Jawad Musavi Community representative
Elizabeth Niyokushima Community Advisory Group
Mengistu Hailu Romero Centre
Magdalena Kuyang Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma



5.15pm - 6.20pm

Side Event: Stories of Systematic Racism - Performance by Voices of Colour

Voices of Colour presents 'Stories of Systematic Racism ' -  Stories of systematic racism is a 50 minute show that unravels the meaning of systematic racism using story, dance, rap and song. It uses art to explore the social and institutional powers that support the oppression of a “racial other” in Australia. This performance combines both personal story and well researched statistical facts that will leave the audience with a basic emotional and intellectual understanding of how racism operates. Find out more about the performance and where you can purchase tickets here



5.15pm - 7.30pm

Welcome Event

Join us for welcome drinks and nibbles at the conclusion of day one.


QUT Gardens Point Theatre Foyer

7.30am - 9.15am

Breakfast session: Supporting Asia-Pacific refugee advocacy – how you can get involved?

As Australia pushes responsibility for protecting refugees back into Asia for someone else to deal with, how can you respond? The Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Working Group) is hosting a breakfast side session to discuss how it is working with refugee-led advocacy networks in the region to push for policy change in Asia. Contribute your ideas to the discussion about how concerned Australians and New Zealanders can help to make a difference. (Light breakfast and refreshments provided). 


Gibson Room

8:30am - 9:30am


Z Block Atrium 

9:30am - 10:00am

Opening Session: Welcome to Day Two

Grace Edward, Multicultural Youth QLD, BEMAC
Manal Younus,  Spoken word poet, public speaker, writer


RAPPP1 Main Auditorium

10.00am - 11.30am

Plenary: Australia & the Asia Pacific

This session will investigate the most effective role Australia can play in boosting opportunities for refugee protection in the Asia Pacific.


Arash Bordbar, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network


Guled Mire, Community leader, advocate, writer
Hafsar Tameesuddin, Human rights defender and activist
Evan Jones Asylum Access Malaysia (via video conference)
Hayso Thako, Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (via video conference)



11:30am - 12:00pm

Special Session: Queer Displacements: working towards safety and inclusion of LGBTIQ+ people seeking asylum and refugees

This session will present on the current challenges and barriers for protection and integration that persist in Australia for LGBTIQ+ people seeking asylum and refugees. It will present the Canberra Statement on the access to safety and justice for LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees as a tool to build solidarity and improve support.


Tina Dixson, PhD Candidate, Queer Sisterhood Project
Renee Dixson, PhD Candidate, Queer Sisterhood Project


Azlan AP



12.00pm - 1:15pm


Z Block Atrium

12.15pm - 1.15pm

Lunchtime Side Session: Youth Caucus @The Spot

Grab a bite to eat and then head along to The Spot to connect and network with young representatives from across Australia


The Spot

12.15pm - 1.15pm

Lunchtime Side Session: Meet the ASRA Team

Join this information session hosted by the  Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance (ASRA) Program team. This will be an opportunity to meet the ASRA team, ask questions and learn more about their collaborative approach to support people seeking asylum through outreach hubs in Brisbane and regional areas.


Gibson Room

1.15pm - 2.45pm

Parallel Session: Building communities for change

Communities play a crucial role in supporting successful settlement. This session explores the partnerships between local governments, community organisations and local residents that aim to foster a welcoming and inclusive community.


Om Dhungel, Refugee Communities Advocacy Network NSW


Louise Aubin, United Nations High Comissioner for Refugees
Rebecca Langton, Refugee Council of Australia
Nick McGuire, Logan City Council
Shankar Kasynathan, My New Neighbour
Daniel Zingifuaboro, Council of South Sudanese Communities Queensland



1.15pm - 2.45pm

Parallel Session: My transition to work: a refugee perspective

Speakers in this session share their experiences of re-building or beginning their careers in Australia.


Mireille Kayeye, Jesuit Social Services


Dominic Golding, National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Yama Choezom, Settlement Services International
Amal Eskifeh, Community Representative
Mashael Suliman, Community Representative





1.15pm - 2.45pm

Parallel Session: Navigating the criminal justice system

This session will explore the experience of navigating the criminal justice system for refugee young people and their families. It will discuss what communities require to access justice and how they can be supported. It will learn from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s journey to accessing justice.


Zita Ngor,  Women’s Legal Services SA


Amiel Nubaha,  Rwandan Association of Queensland
Katy Welch, The Humanitarian Group
Daniel Daylight, Just Reinvest NSW
Isaiah Sines, Just Reinvest NSW



2:45pm - 3.00pm

Afternoon Tea

Z Block Atrium

3.00pm - 4.00pm

Plenary: Closing session

Speakers will share their reflections from conference week, then collate and organise the session outcomes to inform our actions and next steps for 2020.

Grace Edward, Multicultural Youth QLD, BEMAC

Shabnam Safa, National Refugee Advocacy and Advisory Group
Rebecca Eckard Refugee Council of Australia
Kwame Selormey, Melaleuca Refugee Centre




Conference Close

9.30am - 4.30pm

Australian Refugee Dialogue

Australian Refugee Dialogue by National Refugee Led Advocacy and Advisory Group (NRAAG).

This is a closed event for individuals who have lived experience as a refugee, seeking asylum or statelessness.

The National Refugee Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG) is a refugee led entity that envisions to create spaces, platforms and strong voices led by former refugees, people from refugee like backgrounds and people seeking asylum in key decision making tables, public & media discourse. NRAAG envisions to inform key policies, service delivery, campaigns, research, and key initiatives affecting the lives of its constituents with a range of partners and stakeholders.

You can register for this event here

Please send your questions and inquiries to:

Download a full pdf version or a simple timetable to your phone or laptop.
Or add this page to your home screen, then log into the conference wifi to keep on top of the week's events!