THANKS TO OUR Event Speakers
My name is Aamir Ali. I am from Pakistan and currently living in Melbourne with my family. I am studying a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (HONS) at Victoria University Melbourne. I am the board member of Hope Co-op (designer), a cooperative organisation run by asylum-seekers for asylum-seekers.
Aamir will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of Working' session on Thursday 13 February
Thousand Hills Inspire, Rwandan Association of Queensland
Born and raised up in a refugee Camp, Mr Amiel Nubaha migrated to Australia in 2009 aged 14 through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Resettlement Program. Despite of his recent refugee ordeal, Amiel recently graduated with a Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University. Amiel is a current President of the Rwandan Association of Queensland Inc., a Founder of Thousand Hills Inspire- Life Coach and Amiel currently sits on the Youth Advisory Committee of the Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development. A former Youth Member for Woodridge Electorate (2018-2019). Amiel is an active member of the Queensland Multicultural Youth Council, a not-for profit organisation that initiates targeted services and programs to improve life outcomes for young people aged between 12 and 30 in Queensland. Amiel was recently nominated by the Queensland Government to be one of the 3 2019 Young Achiever Finalists because of his ongoing outstanding work within communities from culturally and linguistically diverse background. Amiel was a Caux Scholar at the 2009 Caux Scholars Program Switzerland, a program which teaches students to identify and analyze conflicts, to understand the factors that create and sustain conflicts, and to use practical methods to diffuse conflicts through global disciplines in conflict prevention, negotiation, development studies, international relations, legislation and policy, and transitional justice. Amiel is currently employed as a Caseworker at Cherbourg Youth Justice Service Centre.
Amiel will be speaking on the panel 'Navigating the criminal justice system' on Friday 14 February
Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)
Ana has worked at QPASTT for over 10 years in a variety of roles. Ana has worked therapeutically in a counselling context with people affected by symptoms of complex trauma for nearly 10 years and took up a management role in the last two years, supporting staff who are in direct contact with our client groups, both in individual counselling and community development capacities.In the last 2 years Ana has spent time working across 5 regional locations in QLD. Regional settlement offers a wealth of unique opportunities and connections for our clients, as well as battle it's own specific challenges.
Ana will be moderating the panel 'Regional Communities' on Thursday 13 February
Community Member; Individual and Systems Advocate
Annabelle Allimant is originally from Chile; trained as a Social Worker; has held clinical and leadership positions in the multicultural NGO sector over the last 20 years. Annabelle has been a state and national representative to strategic key networks on issues, barriers and system advocacy affecting people from CALD backgrounds. More recently Annabelle works as Social Work Team Leader in Queensland Health.
Annabelle will be moderating the panel, 'Let's talk about mental health' on Thursday 13 February
Communify, Asylum Circle
Anne has a background in teaching, project management, counselling and advocacy in the community sector, including disability, domestic violence, institutional and child sexual abuse, humanitarian settlement and refugee and asylum seeker support. Anne also spent 12 months as a counsellor in a Darwin immigration detention centre. Presently Anne works at Communify/Asylum Circle. The focus of her work has been sector development and collaboration to respond to the needs of people seeking asylum. Anne is currently the Coordinator of the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance (ASRA) Program in Queensland.
Anne will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of Working' session on Thursday 13 February
Multicultural Youth Australia
My name is Apolina Balebanga. I migrated to Australia in 2008 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I am currently studying a Bachelor of Law and International Relations- motivated by my passion for legality and the importance of ensuring fundamental legal doctrine such as the rule of law. I am a member of the Multicultural Youth Council from the Ipswich region. I am also a member of the Ipswich Youth Council. I am generally motivated by my passion to ensure young people are being heard nationally and locally. More specifically, I am an advocate for equal opportunity and work to ensure that opportunities are effectively communicated to young people of migrant and refugee background.
Apolina will be speaking on the panel ' Spotlight on regional communities' on Thursday 13 February
Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN)
Arash Bordbar, 26, is originally from Shiraz in Iran. Arash is the Chair of Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and is also currently working with the CMRC as a Youth Worker. Arash is also the Co-chair of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council. Arash was awarded the Young People’s Human Rights Medal in 2016 for his advocacy on human rights in Australia and the Asia Pacific, chosen to be an Australian Ambassador since 2018 for Australia Day. He has been selected as a Peace Ambassador for One Young World in 2018 and 2019. Arash is also part of the Amnesty Refugee Advisory Group that strategises and campaigns for the resettlement process for refugees across the world. This year Arash was selected as a Women Deliver Young Leader Ambassador in 2019.
Arash will be moderating the panel " Australia and the Asia Pacific" on Friday 15 February
Beata is a fierce advocate for the rights of Non- English speaking background women and children seeking safety as their fundamental human right.
Beata has extensive experience in working with people from refugee backgrounds within the context of seeking asylum, sexual assault, domestic violence, mental health, child safety, and intergenerational/intercultural youth issues. She is originally from Poland and has a background in psychology. She has personally experienced great dichotomies of civil rights during her journey of seeking asylum and, living in different countries. She is on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia while managing the Mercy Community Romero Centre for people seeking asylum in Queensland.
Rwandan Association of Queensland
I am Cyprien Ntezimana, and I was born in Rwanda, Eastern Africa.
With a successful career spanning over the past twenty-nine years, I have gained extensive and broad experience in providing community support and development. I am an experienced Social Worker, Teacher, Case Manager and Advocate with a diverse background in the community services sector, both here in Australia and overseas.
I hold Masters Degree in Migrations, Conflicts and Social Cohesion in Global Society and I am PhD Candidate in International and Intercultural Studies.
I have worked with some Humanitarian Organisations, including the Active Refugee and Migrant Integration in Australia (ARMIA), the Australian Red Cross, Medicos del Mundo and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
My career to date has seen me apply my skills in research and facilitation, both within an academic and non-academic environment, as well as undertaking qualitative and quantitative data analysis. I also possess extensive capabilities in conflict management, counselling and performing outreach work. I have also gained invaluable experience working with refugees and immigrants, providing interpreting and translating services as well as communicating cross-culturally by utilising my multi-lingual skills.
I take great pride in being able to empower and support those most disadvantaged in our multi-cultural community, promoting diversity and fostering cultural understanding and appreciation
Cyprien will be speaking on the opening plenary, 'Unpacking Lived Experience Leadership' on Thursday 13 February
National Ethnic Disability Alliance: NEDA
Dominic Hong Duc Golding came in a box, ‘Operation Babylift’ one of some 300 plus children and babies evacuated from orphanages in South Vietnam. Dominic has a background in community arts to disability support worker. His projects has been with Australian Vietnamese Youth Media, in partnership with the Vietnamese Community in Australia (VIC chapter) directed Walking Without Feet (2004) an arts showcase by Vietnamese young adults with special needs. Dominic has returned to Vietnam three times, each time a new show was developed, Shrimp (2005, 2007) which won the Drama Victoria Award, Mr. Saigon, Ms. Hanoi (2007). He curator of two exhibitions; Unseen Habitation (2014) and Vessels to a Story (2016) for RISE, a drop in centre for refugees and asylum seekers. Dominic recently completed a University of Melbourne fellowship on refugees with disabilities. He is currently Policy and Projects Officer at NEDA, an NGO to supporting those from NESB with disabilities.
Just Reinvest NSW
Daniel is a proud Kamilaroi (NSW) man who has family ties to the Gubi Gubi nation (QLD). Daniel has a passion for helping Aboriginal children and youth caught in the criminal justice system and has spent his working life in the justice sector. Daniel worked on the development of the Youth Koori Court (YKC) including consultation with community and development of the program with other stakeholders.
Daniel believes if the appropriate support mechanisms are placed around our young Aboriginal people in the Justice system and we can empower them, then they can and will be among our leaders in the future. Daniel is currently the Managing Director of Infinite Hope Aboriginal Corporation, an organisation that has been set up to work with Aboriginal young people involved in both the criminal justice and the out of home care systems. Daniel is also a Director of the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service board and lifelong member of the organisation. Daniel is honoured to be on the Just Reinvest NSW Executive Committee.
Daniel will be speaking on the panel, 'Navigating the criminal justice system' on Friday 14 February
National Refugee-led Advocacy and Advisory Group (NRAAG)
Danijel Malbasa was a goat herder in his native Yugoslavia before his family fled war. He survived two civil wars and was raised in a refugee camp before his family were resettled in Australia in 1999. Now he’s an industrial relations lawyer in Melbourne who volunteers his time and legal skills to help asylum seekers and refugees in his spare time. Danijel has written extensively on the refugee experience. He advocates for refugee-led form of advocacy as the best way to shift the narrative and shape public opinion.
Daniel will be presenting as part of the Ways of Working session on Thursday 13 February
Council of South Sudanese Communities in QLD
Daniel Zingifuaboro was born in South Sudan. He migrated to Australia in 2001. Daniel is currently a Legal Practitioner, employed by Littles Lawyers in Brisbane. Formerly, Daniel served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Access Community Services Limited before being called by his country to serve as State Minister of Local Government and Law Enforcement. While in South Sudan, Daniel also served as State Minister of Information and Communication and State Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Recently, Daniel served as a Community Engagement Consultant with Multicultural Australia, formerly known as Multicultural Development Association (MDA).
Daniel formerly served as a member of the Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (RRAC), now known as Settlement Services Advisory Council (SSAC), Orientation Consultative Committee, National Multicultural Reference Group (NMRG), Human Right Reference Group, Multicultural Ministerial Advisory Committee, among others.
Daniel will be speaking on the panel' Building Communities for Change' on Friday 14 February
Mater Refugee Health
Donata Sackey BSoc. Wk. (Hons),Director Mater Refugee Health service and Deputy Director Mater UQ Centre for Integrated Care and Innovation – Mater Health
Over the past 11 years, Donata has worked with the Mater UQ Centre for Integrated Care and Innovation. The Centre has a strong focus on evaluation, research and implementing new models of care. Donata oversees three key refugee health areas – Mater Refugee Complex Care Clinic, Mater Integrated Refugee Health Service and Refugee Health Network Qld. Donata is the current Chair for the Refugee Health Network Qld Partnership Advisory Group. Prior to joining the Mater, Donata held positions in various human service organisations including over a decade with QPASTT (Qld Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma), mental health services and international student services. She has a social work degree and has a long standing interest in refugee health, community engagement, policy and evaluation.
Donata will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of working' showcase session on Thursday 13 February
Mater Refugee Health Advisory Group
Elizabeth has lived in Australia for 12 yrs, originally from Burundi. Elizabeth has been working as a community advisory community member for seven years. The main role within the community as Community advisory group member is to work as a bridge between Community and Healthcare care professionals.
Elizabeth will be speaking on the panel ' Let's talk about mental health' on Thursday 13 February
Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International (GLAPDI)
Emmanuel Musoni doubles as the Chief Operating Officer of ROA and The Chair of Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International (GLAPDI). He has been engaged in community leadership and development for many years both in Australia and overseas.
Emmanuel has settled around 158 people in regional Australia since mid-2016. Emmanuel’s work has enlightened and changed perceptions towards refugees within the Australian population and brought the new debate into State and Federal politics.
Emmanuel was raised in a refugee camp in Uganda until he was 16 years old. This has led him to be strongly committed and passionate about advocating for better settlement and integration of refugees and migrants who are yearning to call rural and regional Australia home.
As a result of having hundreds of migrant and refugee families expressing interest in moving to country towns, Emmanuel began a campaign of visiting rural communities to talk about the benefits of regional resettlement for local communities. This included strategies for welcoming and retaining migrants in regional areas and guiding research efforts in this field. Emmanuel was commissioned by Scanlon Foundation and Regional Australia Institute to develop a community-based national toolkit to assist regional communities to successfully settle migrants and refugees.
Emmanuel will be joining the panel 'Spotlight on regional communities' on Thursday 13 February
Asylum Access Malaysia
Evan is a South-East Asia based refugee advocate, having lived and worked in the region for the past 8 years. He is currently the Deputy Director at Asylum Access Malaysia (AAM), an NGO that provides legal support for refugees in Malaysia.
Prior to joining AAM, Evan was based in Bangkok with the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN). Evan has also held various roles with the Australian Government, NGOs and the private sector prior to his move to Asia.
Evan will be speaking (via video conference) on the panel 'Australia and the Asia Pacific on Friday 14 February
National Refugee Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG)
Farhad is a member of the Steering Committee of National Refugee Advisory and Advocacy Group. He works as a Research and Policy Coordinator at Edmund Rice Centre where he coordinates research, advocacy and community development programs. His research and advocacy interest is centred on refugee empowerment, immigrant settlement, human rights of people seeking asylum and returnees experience in their countries of origin.
Over the past ten years, Farhad has been working with diaspora and grassroots communities from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sri Lanka and Sudan, to enable them to provide their voice, input and feedback in the design, development, implementation and evaluation of Australia’s humanitarian and refugee settlement policies and programs.
Farhad will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of Working' showcase on Thursday 13 February
Multicultural Youth QLD, BMAC
Grace Edward is a Brisbane based playwright, director and creative producer from Yei, South Sudan. She believes in the power of storytelling as a tool to understand one another better. Through her writing and productions, Grace explores different aspects of what it means to be a third-culture child and a person of colour living in Australia today. She has co-written, produced and directed two theatre productions in Brisbane linking generations: A forum theatre play (2018) and Skin deep (2019) which explored the ideology of colourism within People of Colour Communities. Grace has spoken around Australia on a range of issues including youth leadership, education, health, migration, rascism and discrimination, and displacemnet.
Grace will be joining us as the Master of Ceremonies and speaking on the panel, 'What does ethical representation of refugees and refugee policy look like?' on Thursday 13 February
QUT Elder in Residence
QUT is proud to introduce Mr Gregory Egert, known to the community as Uncle Cheg. Uncle Cheg is an Aboriginal man from both Yugara and Gorenpul country with considerable experience in the education sector and strong engagement with several Indigenous Australian community organisations. Uncle Cheg commenced his engagement as Elder-in-Residence in September 2019. Since this time, he has delivered a number of significant Welcomes to Country and also participated in selected committees, school engagement and cultural mentoring. Uncle Cheg provides an important link to the countries upon which QUT resides and a knowledge base for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian students and staff at QUT.
Uncle Cheg, works closely with Ms Angela Barney-Leitch, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy). His work includes activities at both campuses as well as off-campus support with selected school engagement activities.
We are grateful to have Uncle Cheg join us for the Welcome to Country on Thursday 13 February
Amnesty International Australia
Dr Thom has worked as Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator since May 2000, working on behalf of individual asylum seekers as well as on broader human rights issues relating to refugees. In 2000 Dr Thom completed his PhD at the University of Sydney’s Department of Government. He has visited detention centres in Australia, including those on Christmas Island and refugee camps and detention centres in the Netherlands, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Nauru and Thailand. Over the last eleven years Dr Thom has represented Amnesty International at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in Geneva. Dr Thom continues to give lectures and publish articles on refugee issues, both globally and domestically.
Graham will be speaking on the panel ' How to hold the Government to account' on Thursday 13 February
Community Advocate, Writer, Speaker, Third Culture Minds
Community Advocate, Writer, Speaker, and Co-founder & Chief Executive of Third Culture Minds
Guled Mire is a former refugee who is passionate about advancing and encouraging the social well-being, inclusion and development of New Zealand’s ethnic and former refugee communities. He is a writer, speaker, senior policy advisor, young leader and community advocate. He is also the co-founder & CEO of Third Culture Minds, and is recognised as one of New Zealand’s most prominent young voices advocating for a more humane, inclusive and welcoming society. More recently, Guled led a highly publicised campaign to abolish an explicitly discriminatory ‘family-link’ requirement rule for African and Middle Eastern refugees within New Zealand’s official refugee quota policy.
Guled will be speaking on the panel ' Australia and the Asia Pacific' on Friday 14 February
Gulnara Abbasova is Executive Officer of the Harmony Alliance and head of strategy and policy at Migration Council Australia (the auspicing body for the Alliance). She has a significant track record in civil society leadership and strategy across social policy, gender equality and human rights nationally and internationally.
Previously, Gulnara was Executive Director of the national peak body representing Australia’s migrant and refugee communities. She also led programs at two UN agencies and worked extensively in international advocacy on the rights and issues of Indigenous Peoples and ethnic minorities, as well as civil society participation.
Gulnara serves on a number of boards and committees focusing on professional regulation, access and equity, women’s empowerment and public health.
Human Rights Defender, Refugee Representative & Refugee Rights Activist
Hafsar is a human rights defender and activist for gender equality, child marriage, LGBTQI , refugees and statelessness. While Hafsar was in Malaysia as a refugee from 2011 till early 2019, she worked with the refugee community to support survivors of SGBV and child marriage. Hafsar also got involved in advocacy work for refugee rights, gender equality and child marriage during this time in Malaysia.
Hafsar is still actively engaged with the advocacy work for the refugee rights, statelessness and SGBV in New Zealand and in other countries whenever she has the opportunity to do so.
Hafsar is very much looking forward to making positive changes for the refugees and stateless people within her capacity together with the individuals and agencies who work for the same causes.
Hafsar will be speaking on the panel 'Australia and the Asia Pacific' on Friday 14 February
Karen Refugee Committee, Asia Pacific Network of Refugees
Hayso Thacko is a refugee activist and peace worker at currently situated at the Thai-Burma border. Hayso is a leading advocate for refugee rights and the Chair of the Karen Peace Support Network in refugee affairs. Hayso is also a member of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR).
Hayso will be joining the panel, 'Australia and the Asia Pacific' via video conference on Friday 14 February
Just Reinvest NSW
Isaiah Sines is a Youth Ambassador for Just Reinvest NSW, a proud Dhungatti man from Kempsey and also has ties to the Wiradjuri people. Isaiah has also been supporting JRNSW’s engagement with young people in Mt Druitt.
Isaiah provides assistance to the Community Engagement team at Just Reinvest NSW to work with members of the Mt Druitt community to explore the potential for an Aboriginal community led justice reinvestment approach to lowering interactions with the criminal justice system.
Isaiah will be speaking on the panel, 'navigating the criminal justice system' on Friday 14 February
Cultural Consultant, Performer, Trainer
Specialising in Indigenous Contemporary dance Jeanette is a teacher, choreographer, cultural consultant and performing artist. Her experience spans over 25 years of performing and teaching audiences locally, nationally and internationally about her Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island, Papua New Guinean and SE Asian heritage.
Aunty Jeanette will be performing as part of the opening session on Thursday 13 February
National Refugee Led Advisory & Advocacy Group (NRAAG)
Joseph is the Community Inclusion Manager at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. His role is leading several community engagement projects and strengthening the advocacy voice in refugee and asylum seekers space.
Joseph is a former refugee from Iraq. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied management. He enjoys operating in multifunctional capacities to serve and empower vulnerable communities particularly the disadvantaged ones. He has advance knowledge in managing projects and teams by accomplishing the best results in the shortest possible time with as little friction as possible.
Joseph has a robust passion to serve the humanitarian sector in particular the ones linked to the situations resulted from conflicts. He is a creative problem-solver who brings quality skills to make the work gets done, a leader that thrive to create entrepreneurial leadership styles among his colleagues. Joseph has more than 10 years in non-for-profit sector. He has presented Australia at the United Nations in Geneva since 2013 to advocate for the global refugee. He is recognized in the newly emerged communities and well known in the multicultural community sector. He has received recognition awards for his work and vocal voice in defending for vulnerable communities.
Joseph will be representing NRAAG as part of the 'Ways of Working' showcase on Thursday 13 February.
Refugee Council of Australia
Kelly has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years with a range of roles including senior management, advocacy, campaigns, fundraising and media relations. She has worked for a range of NGOs from large international organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to small grass-roots organisations. She has worked internationally, leading an NGO in Washington DC and also spent extensive time working and living in Latin America. Before working in the NGO sector Kelly was a journalist.
Kelly will be joining the opening session "The Challenge of Change" on Thursday 13 February
Kelly Sibanda’s passion for community engagement was shaped by her upbringing in Zimbabwe. It has been influenced by her strong engagement and involvement in the African Community in Queensland, her multicultural school, and university clubs. As a migrant with a mixed African Australian family, Kelly learned to navigate between the two cultures, to transition between them and find her identity.
Kelly is known within the Queensland African community in Queensland for her leadership and community work. She has been an active member of the Queensland African Communities Council (QACC). Kelly’s commitment and dedication to the community was recognised and celebrated in being awarded the Highly Commended African Australian Community Ambassador of the Year Award at the African Australian Awards. Kelly was also awarded the Young African Australian Leader Award at the Queensland African Australian Awards in recognition of her achievements and leadership.
Her volunteer work with QACC led her to her current position as a Youth Engagement Officer within the Migrant Youth Vision Project (MYVP) at Multicultural Australia where she has been working for 4 years. Her one-on-one work with clients as well as her delivery of various programs has seen many young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds reaching their employment, education, training and sport goals.
Kelly completed a Bachelor of Justice, majoring in Criminology and Policing from the Queensland University of Technology and is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws at Griffith University. She would like to advocate and represent those from refugee and migrant backgrounds in law and policy to ensure a fair and prosperous Australia for everyone.
Kelly will be co-hosting the 'Ways of Working' showcase on Thursday 13 February
Refugee Council of Australia
Laura has been Media and Campaigns Coordinator at the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) for four years. In this role, she works both on RCOA and sector-wide campaigns; Refugee Week; media liaison and refugee sector coordination.
Prior to this, Laura has worked on refugee rights and environmental campaigns and has written for a number of publications in the UK and Australia.
Laura will be speaking on the panel, 'What does ethical representation of refugees and refugee policy look like?' on Thursday 13 February
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Ms. Aubin is the UNHCR Regional Representative to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Since joining UNHCR, she has served in a number of refugee and internal displacement operations including Central African Republic, Rwanda, Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh, in addition to legal and advocacy work in Canada and in France. Before coming to Australia, she was Deputy Director in the Division of International Protection at UNHCR’s Headquarters in Geneva. Ms Aubin is a Canadian lawyer.
Louise will be speaking on the panel 'Building Communities for Change' on Friday 15 February
Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT)
Magdalena Kuyang is a Counselor in the Regional Team Services at QPASTT, an organisation she has worked in since 2005. Magdalena is involved in family counselling, therapeutic groups, trauma counselling, and information sessions for families from a refugee background to improve family relationships, maintain good mental health and well-being. Magdalena has a Bachelor of Human Services, with Families and Communities focus, and a Cert IV in Primary Health and Community Care and she is trained as a Bi cultural Mental Health Consultant. She is particularly interested in working across cultures, using collaborative approaches to strengthen family relationships and promote social inclusion. Magdalene is also passionate about using a broad range of therapeutic techniques and keen to learn new approaches to empower people’s strengths.
Magdalena will be speaking on the session ' Let's talk about mental health' on Thursday 13 February
Writer, Spoken Word Artist, Advocate
Manal Younus is an Australian based freelance storyteller from Eritrea who believes that language and stories are the very fabric of our existence. Using her writing and performance, Manal explores different aspects of life from perseverance, identity, travel and truth. She speaks on a vast number of issues including youth leadership, gender and female empowerment, faith, blackness, culture, language, migration, displacement, racism and interculturalism. The young artist also facilitates writing, performance, public speaking, youth empowerment and intercultural awareness workshops in schools, community groups and professional environments to encourage others to develop their own voices.
Manal will be hosting the events at "The Spot" across both conference days.
Independent Age Care Tutor
Mashael is a pharmacist from Saudi Arabia and an asylum seeker. Mashael is currently working as a Lecturer at the Australian Institute of Advice Studies and is an Assistant Nures at St Vincent’s Care Services. Mashael arrived in Australia two years ago.
Mashael will be speaking on the panel entiteld ' My transition to work: a refugee perspective" on Friday 14 February
Mengistu went to New Zealand as Asylum Seeker and been granted a refugee status. Mengistu completed his trade electrical engineering, supply chain management/ Shipping & Freight, level 4 Mental Health Support work and bachelor of social work study in New Zealand. Following community invitation in QLD, Mengistu moved to Australia in April 2013. Mengistu has been working in different role within the multicultural sectors since coming to Australia. Mengistu also worked in New Zealand in the same field as well as in the mainstream sectors including the school's social worker's position.
Mengistu will be speaking on the panel 'Let's talk about mental health' on Thursday 13 February
International Detention Coalition
Mia-lia joined the International Detention Coalition (IDC) as Campaigns & Communications Coordinator in January 2019, prior to that she served as Campaign Officer at IDC for almost two years.
Mia-lia has a long history of grassroots organising in the United States, and co-founded a community organisation in Philadelphia, 1Love Movement, to advocate against detention and deportation of Cambodian refugees from the US.
She believes strongly in promoting the need for directly impacted people, families, and communities to lead and guide advocacy work on issues that effect their own lives.
She holds a BA in International and Area Studies, and an MA in Public Policy and Management.
Mia-lia will be moderating the plenary session 'Unpacking lived experience' on Thursday 13 February
Jesuit Social Services
Mireille Kayeye hails from Burundi and has more than eight years’ experience using media and communications for social change. Mimi is currently working at the Jesuit Social Services where she implements the African Australian Inclusion Program (AAIP), a joint initiative with National Australia Bank (NAB) in Victoria and New South Wales. The AAIP provides supported work experience at NAB and is a pathway to ongoing employment in the Australian business sector.
Mimi is a board member of One Girl, an organisation that is providing access to quality education in Uganda and Sierra Leone. She is a steering committee member of the National Refugee Led Advocacy and Advisory Group (NRAAG) and a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee of the City of Port Phillip.
Mimi holds a Master of Advanced Studies (International Development and Gender) from the Australian National University, where she researched the trafficking of African women for forced labour in Australia.
Mimi will be moderating the session entitled ' My transition to work: a refugee perspective' on Friday 14 February.
Muzafar Ali is a former Hazara refugee from Afghanistan. He is currently living in Adelaide and a student at the University of South Australia. Believing in refugee agency, he is a passionate advocate for refugee education.
After 9/11, he worked for the United Nations in Afghanistan. His work evolved in a range of diverse sectors, including the disarmament of illegal armed groups, strengthening political institutions and civil society organisations, development, and photojournalism.
The deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan forced Muzafar to migrate to Indonesia in 2013. He played a key role to establish the first refugee school (Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre) in Indonesia, and a collaborative refugee community to own the school. He regularly participates in awareness campaigns for Australians and fundraising events for school in Indonesia.
Muzafar will be speaking as part of the opening session on Thursday 13 February
Logan City Council
Nich is currently the Community Services Manager at Logan City Council, where he has spent the last 2.5 years working with my team and the community across a range of different portfolios to facilitate opportunities designed to empower, support and enhance the lives of people living in Logan.
Prior to this Nick worked for a national consulting company where he was fortunate to work on a range of community planning, community engagement and economic planning initiatives all over Australia. Nick has also worked at various other Local Governments across south east Queensland in community facing roles, where he has had the chance every day to do what he is passionate about, and that is working with people to try and have a positive influence on the communities we serve.
Nick will be joining the panel 'Building Communities for Change' on Friday 13 February
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia
Nishadh is the Policy, Advocacy, and Communications Manager at JRS Australia. In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing the JRS Australia's advocacy and communications strategy, leading it's contributions to national-level policy development/analysis, and overseeing its new community organising project.
Nishadh has ten years experience working with refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants in vulnerable situations in a variety of policy, stakeholder engagement and casework roles with the Australian Red Cross, UNRWA, and Baptcare, and has also published research and commentary on issues of forced migration in Australia and West Asia.
Nishadh came to Australia a bit more than thirteen years ago and is a proud first generation Indian-Australian.
Nishadh will be joining the opening plenary on Thursday 13 February
Federal Loves Refugees
Peta Marks is a mental health nurse and mother of three living and working in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. Along with her friends Julie Lipsett and Francesca Hart, Peta established the community group Federal Loves Refugees in 2015. FLR provides the community of the Byron Bay hinterland with an opportunity to fundraise for and support refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.
Peta will be speaking on the panel 'Spotlight on regional communities' on Thursday 13 February
RCAN NSW, Om Dhungel Consulting
Om Dhungel, FAICD, MBA, B.Sc. Engg, JP
Om Dhungel, a trained telecommunications engineer is now a consultant and a practitioner of Strength-Based Approach to refugee settlement and community engagement, offering his services as a trainer, mentor and a speaker. A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Om is currently a Director on the Board of Asylum Seeker Centre, a Member of NSW Police Multicultural Advisory Council and has served on the Boards of Settlement Services International (SSI), SydWest Multicultural Services and MTC Australia in the recent past. Formerly a refugee from Bhutan and the founding President of the Association of Bhutanese in Australia (ABA) Sydney, Om is a recipient of the 2017 University of Technology Sydney (UTS) International Alumni Award and 2016 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Community Medal for Lifetime Achievement amongst many other accomplishments. Further info: www.omdhungel.com.
Om will be moderating the panel ' Building Communities for Change' on Friday 14 February
Raziq is a former refugee from Afghanistan who has recently graduated with a bachelor of Law and Justice (Honours) from Queensland University of Technology. He currently sits on the Board of QPASTT.
Raziq has volunteered with numerous organisations within the refugee sector. He was the President of Youth Voice Committee, an initiative of QPASTT which is run by young people aged 12-25 from diverse backgrounds. The Committee explores ideas and educates peers and the broader community on issues of social justice, social policy and government processes which affect young people. Raziq intends to practice law and continue his work within the non-profit sector and helping marginalised people.
Raziq will be moderating the panel 'How to hold the Government to account' on Thursday 13 February
Refugee Council of Australia
Rebecca Eckard is the Director of Policy & Research at the Refugee Council of Australia, the national peak body for people from a refugee, humanitarian, and asylum-seeking background, and the organisations and individuals who support them. Rebecca convenes several policy and advocacy networks, drafts submissions and gives testimony for Parliamentary inquiries, and delivers information and education sessions on Australia’s asylum and refugee policies. Rebecca regularly participates in representative work on behalf of RCOA, both in Australia and internationally.
Rebecca is speaking on the session ' The Challenge of Change' on Thursday 13 February
Refugee Council of Australia
Rebecca is the Office Manager at the Refugee Council of Australia. She manages RCOA's Refugee Welcome Zone initiative with local Councils and also volunteer engagement. She has worked at RCOA for the past 6 years and holds a Masters in Refugee Studies from the University of East London.
Rebecca will be speaking on the panel ' Building Communities for Change' on Friday 14 February
Queer Sisterhood Project
Renee Dixson is a PhD Candidate at the Australia National University developing a digital archive of LGBTIQ oral histories about forced migration. The significance of Renee’s research project lies in the fact that the phenomenon of LGBTIQ migration and forced displacement has not been sufficiently documented. The archive that Renee is developing will be the first digital LGBTIQ archive to record those experiences.
Since 2004 Renee have been working as a human rights defender at the international and national levels focusing on the rights of LGBTIQ people. As a result of visible work and persecution, they were forced to leave their country of residence and seek asylum in Australia.
Renee also works at the Australian National University producing 3D models of artefacts, culturally significant objects such as the ceremonial Black Rod in the Australian Senate and animal skulls for research.
In addition, Renee is an artist and in their art practice Renee is working with film and photography. One of the big social art project that Renee produced was “Stories About Hope” that explored the experiences of refugees in Australia.
Renee is also a co-founder of the Queer Sisterhood Project, a refugee-led peer support and advocacy group for queer refugee women, and a co-convener of the inaugural conference on LGBTIQ asylum called Queer Displacements: Sexuality, Migration and Exile.
National Indigenous Television (NITV)
Rhanna Collins is a proud Tasmanian Aboriginal woman and is the Executive Editor of NITV's Indigenous News and Current Affairs team, working across the TV station’s news and current affairs digital and on-air portfolio.
She is an experienced cross-platform producer and journalist with a strong news, current affairs and journalism background.
She has worked as a journalist, producer and editor in the newsrooms of a number of Australian media companies and broadcast stations over the past decade including Foxtel, The Weather Channel and Sky News.
Refugee Council of Australia
Rnita arrived in Australia in 2015 as a humanitarian entrant after fleeing the war in Syria. Before fleeing Syria to Lebanon, Rnita was a teacher and preparing to do her master in teaching, as well as participating in church youth group and community mentoring programs. Upon arrival in Lebanon, Rnita placed her studies on hold to work to support her family as they awaited resettlement to a third ‘safe’ country. On her arrival to Australia, Rnita worked as a volunteer in community organizations such as Auburn Diversity Service and Sydney Alliance to help and support refugees, like herself transition to life in Australia using her fluency in Arabic, Assyrian and Kurdish to help ‘newly arrived’ young people and their families engage with their local community. Rnita worked as Youth Transition Support worker to support young refugees to continue their study and work here in Australia. She is currently studying Business studies in Swinburne University and works for the Refugee Council of Australia. As evidenced by both her studies and work Rnita is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and experience as a refugee with ‘newly arrived’ young people and their families to realize their full potential including access to education and employment opportunities.
Rnita will be moderating the session ' Ways of Working' on Thursday 13 February
Refugee Education Special Interest Group
Sally Baker is the Chair of the national Refugee Education Special Interest Group for/with students from refugee backgrounds, supported by the Refugee Council of Australia, and a Lecturer in the School of Education and the education ‘focal point’ for the Forced Migration Research Network at The University of New South Wales.
Sally will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of Working' session on Thursday 13 February
HOPE Co-Op Secretary, Refugee Education Special Interest Group (RESIG)
Sally Morgan has been an educator in a wide range of school settings, from mainstream to alternative flexible learning environments and teacher education. At St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre in Nth Melbourne, she helped to lead the Maree program for people seeking asylum and developed the Asylum Seeker Pathways Project, working to overcome barriers to work and education experienced by her students . She is currently doing a participatory action research PhD project. Sally is also secretary of the recently established HOPE Co-Operative, run by and for students of asylum seeker background. Working to promote agency and full socio-economic inclusion of people marginalised by the immigration and education systems is her ongoing passion.
Sally will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of Working' session on Thursday 13 February
La Trobe University
Dr Savitri Taylor is an Associate Professor in the Law School at La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia). She has been researching and publishing on refugee law and asylum policy at the national, regional and international level for over 25 years. Her current major research project (in partnership with Dr Klaus Neumann) is titled “Protecting Non-Citizens: An Australian legal and political history, 1945-1989”. Dr Taylor is also very involved with the refugee sector in Australia. Most recently (2019), she partnered with the Refugee Council of Australia to publish a research report entitled “The Use of Non-Judicial Accountability Mechanisms by the Refugee Sector in Australia”.
Savitri will be speaking on the panel 'How to hold the Government to account' on Thursday 13 February
Mater Refugee Community Advisory Group, MIPH. RN. BSc.
Sediqa Karimi is a passionate Registered Nurse with a strong background in Biomedical sciences and issues concerning Public Health and wellbeing. She is community minded and believes in diversity and equality in healthcare. In her current role as an RN at the Emergency Department, she thrives to enhance her learning and knowledge in understanding the broader socio-economical determinants of health. She also believes that her background in public health and her ongoing learning in the clinical sector will enable her to contribute towards achieving the extraordinary for her patients, her work place and the community as a whole.
Sediqa will be representing the Refugee Health Network Queensland as part of the 'Ways of Working' showcase on Thursday 13 February
National Refugee Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG)
Shabnam is a project officer at the Centre for Multicultural Youth working to eliminate barriers faced by young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and helping them become influential agents of change.
Shabnam was fifteen when her family arrived in Australia as Afghan refugees. Since then Shabnam has eagerly worked towards shifting the refugee narrative by highlighting, and drawing from, community strengths and expertise in creating solutions for the complex challenges rising from forced migration and settlement. She co-founded Noor Foundation, a youth-led organisation to support newly arrived individuals and families in Australia and Project ReConnect, a global initiative connecting refugees in transition with locals from their host communities to promote empathy and social cohesion. With experience across Australia, India and Europe, Shabnam is passionate about leadership and capacity building frameworks, with a focus on culture and diversity, within the not-for-profit, public service and education sectors.
Shabnam has previously represented Australia at the UN and several other international summits presenting key social policy issues and currently serves on multiple government and community advisory boards.
In her spare time, Shabnam enjoys breaking a sweat at the dojo – she is a national and international champion with a black belt in Karate.
Shabam will be joining the closing plenary on Friday 14 February
Amnesty International Australia
Shankar Kasynathan’s earliest memories are of his family being resettled by a generous neighbourhood after finding refuge in Australia. Over the last 15 years he has been dedicated to building more inclusive and welcoming neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. Today, he is the driving force behind the “My New Neighbour” campaign, calling for a generous refugee community sponsorship program in Australia. He has worked as a sessional academic at Deakin, Monash and Charles Darwin universities, and has degrees in Economics, Public Policy and is currently completing post-graduate studies in Education. He has worked on community engagement & advocacy initiatives for Oxfam, Transparency International, the National Heart Foundation and Amnesty International.
Shankar will be speaking on the session ' Building communities for change' on Friday 15 February
Refugee Council of Australia
Shukufa Tahiri is a Policy Officer with the Refugee Council of Australia. Her work involves policy analysis, research and advocacy on issues affecting people seeking asylum and refugees. She is one of the executive directors of Akademos Society which enables the education of girls, youth and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She is a steering committee member of the National Refugee Led Advocacy and Advisory Group (NRAAG). She is also an Advisory Committee member at UNSW Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.
Shukufa will be joining the panel for the opening plenary on Thursday 13 February
SBS World News
Stefan Armbruster is the Brisbane-based correspondent for SBS World News, reporting on Queensland and the Pacific region.
He was born in Germany, grew up in Australia, and worked for a decade in London for the BBC and other international broadcasters.
Since joining SBS in 2007, he has won numerous national radio and television media awards for his coverage of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Pacific, environment and multicultural issues.
Stefan will be speaking on the panel, 'What does ethical representation of refugees and refugee policy look like?' on Thursday 13 February
Queer Sisterhood Project
Tina Dixson is a feminist academic and a policy professional, who has worked in the areas of LGBTIQ, refugee and women’s rights. Tina has engaged with human rights bodies such as CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women). She also helped develop the Global Compact on Refugees, focusing on inclusion and mainstreaming of age, gender and diversity sensitive approaches.
Tina is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University researching the experiences of LGBTIQ asylum-seeking and refugee women in Australia.
She is a co-founder of the Queer Sisterhood Project, a refugee-led support and advocacy group for LGBTIQ asylum-seeking and refugee women. She is also a co-convener of the first Australian conference on the issues of LGBTIQ asylum called Queer Displacements: Sexuality, Migration and Exile.
Tina is Policy Officer at the Australian Women Against Violence Alliance, one of six national women’s alliances to bring together women’s organizations and individuals across Australia to share information, identify issues and contribute to solutions in responding to and preventing violence against all women and their children.
Refugee Health Network QLD
Vicky Jacobson is the coordinator for the Refugee Health Network of Queensland which was formally launched in April 2017. The Network provides a mechanism to build capacity, partnerships, and facilitate coordination of health care.
Vicky has over 18 years' experience working in the health industry including health promotion, primary care and public mental health services. She has a degree in Health Science (Family and Consumer Studies). Vicky’s previous roles have centered on developing systems that support partnerships between and across health and community services in order to improve access and coordination of health care for vulnerable populations.
Vicky will be speaking as part of the 'Ways of Working' Showcase on Thursday 13 February
Queensland Government Department of Local Government, Racing & Multicultural Affairs
Wayne Briscoe is the Executive Director of Multicultural Affairs in the Queensland Government’s Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs. In this role Wayne works across the State and Commonwealth governments, and in close partnership with stakeholders representative of Queensland’s rich cultural diversity, to help ensure people from culturally diverse backgrounds can participate fully in Queensland’s economic, social and cultural life. Wayne has held a number of senior positions in the Queensland Government including with the Queensland Law Reform Commission, Office of Fair Trading, Criminal Justice Commission, Liquor Licensing Division, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Wayne’s previous experience includes lecturing in law in Tasmania and Western Australia, research positions with the Tasmanian and Western Australian Law Reform Commissions, private legal practice and a senior advocacy role with the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Wayne holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Tasmania and a Master of Arts (Criminal Justice) from the California State University, Sacramento
Wayne will be presenting as part of the 'Ways of Working' session on Thursday 13 February
Settlement Services International (SSI)
Yama was born in Tibet and brought up India. Yama move to Australia to study a Master of Lawsat the University of Melbourne Law School in 2017.
Yama worked as an interpreter for 2 years and also worked in Mid-tier law firm in an immigration team as a law clerk for six months.
Yama currently works at MinterEllison as a paralegal in Pro Bono and Community Investment team.
Yama is an ardent reader and aspiring to be a lawyer as she completes her bridging course for admission as a lawyer.
Yama will be joining the panel, 'My transition to work: a refugee perspective' on Friday 14 February
Zaki is a refugee from Afghanistan. After being targeted by Taliban to be killed in 2013, at age of 17 years old, he escaped from Afghanistan and came to Australia by boat.
When Zaki first came to Australia, he studied English and has since thrived in his studies completing two Diplomas in IT and Graphic Design. Zaki is a passionate human rights advocate, sharing his experience with schools and the wider community. He dreams to one day be able to provide education and assistance to people in less fortunate countries, the way he was given this opportunity in Australia.
Zaki is currently volunteer with Afghan Community, Canberra Refugee Action Committee in the ACT and Cumberland Council in NSW.
Zaki will be speaking on the opening plenary ' Unpacking Lived Experience Leadership' on Thursday 13 February
Women's Legal Service (SA)
Zita Adut Deng Ngor is the CEO of Women’ Legal Service (SA), a specialist not-for profit providing legal services to women across the state of South Australia. Zita Ngor has an active interest in working with and advocating on behalf of disadvantaged groups within society. In 2001 she received a Centenary Medal for service to the community and in 2013 she was selected to one of three NGO delegates to the Australian Government Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women 57. She was selected to be part of the delegation due to her expertise on violence against women. This year Zita was selected as one of the 40 under 40 young business entrepreneurs in South Australia. She was also a recipient of the 2019 Robyn Layton Award, from the Women’s Lawyers Association of South Australia.
Zita will be speaking on the panel ' The Challenge of Change' on Thursday 13 February