Refugee Week
Face-to-Face Speaker and Refugee Week Ambassador George Najarian

George’s story

The Journey

George Najarian, affectionately known as ‘Ginger George,’ is an Armenian refugee from Syria.  Forced to flee his country and undergo an extremely challenging journey to neighbouring country of Lebanon, he was offered safety by way of a humanitarian visa, arriving in Australia in 2017.

Arriving in Australia

Once here, George was able to pursue his life-long dream to become a Mechatronics and Robotics Engineer. He graduated with 1st Class Honours and numerous other awards as the top student at Western Sydney University.

Giving Back

Now, George works He now works as a project manager in a multinational engineering firm. In his spare time, he dedicates himself to educating Australians about the refugee experience, changing perceptions and fostering a deeper understanding of the issues refugees face. He has become a prominent public figure in his advocacy, appearing on various TV and radio shows including Go Back To Where You Came From (SBS) and The Drum (ABC). His efforts have raised over $100,000 for refugee communities and towards rebuilding damaged schools in Syria. In addition, his work has led to the launch of two scholarships aimed at supporting fellow refugees to study.

George has spoken at a wide array of events, ranging from school speeches to TED talks, even meeting heads of state along the way. He volunteers with several organisations, including the Red Cross, Settlement Services International, and the Sydney Alliance, where he represents and advocates for refugee communities. George’s passion for public speaking drives his participation in the Refugee Council’s Refugee Stories for Change program. Through his tireless work, George seeks to inspire action and promote understanding, leveraging his own experiences to advocate for policies and practices that support refugees integrating into Australian society. “Give me an opportunity”, says George, “and I will make it my life.”

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