Why does Refugee Week have a theme? 

The Refugee Week theme has a number of important functions:

  • It raises awareness of the issues affecting refugees. The theme aims to highlight aspects of the refugee experience and help the broader community to understand what it is like to be a refugee.
  • It helps to make Refugee Week a national celebration. The theme provides a focal point for events across Australia, uniting separate activities into a single nationwide celebration.
  • It promotes harmony and togetherness. The theme unites individuals, communities and organisations from many different backgrounds behind a common cause. The common theme is a reminder that, regardless of our differences, we all share a common humanity.
  • It broadens the impact of Refugee Week. The theme provides a common, cohesive message which can be promoted across the country, helping to maximise the effectiveness of awareness-raising activities.

2019 Theme – ‘A world of stories’

Planning is underway for Refugee Week 2019.  This year we bring a fresh focus to celebrating our three- year theme #WithRefugees through ‘a world of stories’ from around the globe!

Refugee Week provides an opportunity for the Australian public to celebrate the immense courage, resilience and valuable contributions made by refugees to Australian society. For many Australians Refugee Week provides an opportunity to meet a refugee for the first time. Storytelling provides a great way to do this.

Every refugee seeking safety brings their own story of why they left home, their journey and in some cases finding, safety in Australia. The sharing of stories is an opportunity to not only remember and honor their journey but also to educate the Australian community to better understand the courage and contribution that refugees make.

Share a meal, share a story…

We encourage advocates, faith groups, schools, politicians, organisations, artists, communities and ordinary Australians to show their support by holding an event during Refugee Week. This year we are focusing on the sharing of a meal whilst sharing a story. This might be a breakfast, a morning tea, lunch, or dinner. It might be a meal on it’s own or as part of a broader celebration.

Sharing food is a powerful way to interact and connect.

A ‘Refugee’ is a person; boy, girl, woman or man. Not a label, but a human being with a beating heart just like you and me.  The refugee experience can be prolonged or it can be fleeting.

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the peak national body representing over 200 organisations who support refugees and people seeking asylum and coordinates Refugee Week across Australia.

All member and other organisations and individuals holding events as part of Refugee Week are encouraged to link their activities to this year’s focus. For ‘share a meal, share a story event pack information email refugeeweek@refugeecouncil.org.au

Past Refugee Week themes

  • 2018-2020: @WithRefugees
  • 2015-2017: With courage let us all combine
  • 2012-2014: Restoring Hope
  • 2009-2011: Freedom from Fear
  • 2008: A Place to Call Home
  • 2007: The Voices of Young Refugees
  • 2006: Journeys
  • 2005: Different Past, Shared Future
  • 2004: A Journey of Understanding Towards Hope and Respect