Refugee Week Bulletin 9 May 2016

May 9 2016
Refugee Week Bulletin

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Refugee Week : 19-25 June 2016 

Welcome to the second Refugee Week 2016 Bulletin.  Every fortnight from now until Refugee Week, we will be sending you updates about events, ambassadors, resources and much more. Do get involved and to send us information about what you will be up to during Refugee Week so that we can promote it for you. You may even see your event featured in the next bulletin, send your events

Melbourne and Sydney Launches

We are beyond excited to share with you the details of our Melbourne and Sydney Launches for Refugee Week 2016, which look to be bigger and better than ever before:
MELBOURNEThe Refugee Council of Australia, in partnership with the ASRC, AMES Australia, Jesuit Social Services, City of Melbourne and Wyndham CEC warmly invite you to the
official Victorian launch of Refugee Week 2016.

Sunday 19th June, 3:00pm-8:00pm
Federation Square
 Melbourne, VIC, 3000

• Inspiring refugee voices
•  Award-winning actor, writer and comedian Osamah Sami as MC
• Performances from The Smith Street Band, Tripod, Robot Child (featuring Waleed Aly), Ajak Kwai, Abe Nouk, the Burundian Drummers, Voices without Borders and the Chin Choir
• World Street Food Market

The event is FREE and open to everyone to attend.
Please click here to RSVP and please share this and the Facebook event page widely within your networks.


The Refugee Council of Australia & Inner West Council warmly invite you to the official NSW launch of Refugee Week 2016.

Friday 17th June, 10.00am–12.00pm
Inner West Refugee Hub,
Building 504, Wharf Road, Callan Park

• Inspiring refugee voices
•  Captivating live music and performances
• The 2016 NSW Humanitarian Awards
• morning tea

RSVP essential (seating limited): Phone: (02) 9211 9333

Photo credit: Pixabay

Featured Event

More to the Story – conversations with Refugees: Author talk by Rosemary Sayer

June 23, 6:00 – 7:00pm, Edmund Rice Centre WA

Rosemary Sayer is a writer, former journalist and a board member of the Edmund Rice Centre in Western Australia, which supports humanitarian programmes for refugees and Aboriginal families.Her unease with the negative, often politicised debate dehumanising refugees and asylum seekers led her to go beyond media reports, political speeches and statistics to write her third book More to the Story – conversations with refugees.

Julian Burnside, AO,QC has called it a “book of great importance” in his foreword and urges all Australians to read it. Rosemary will share her three year journey of researching and the book which combines history, commentary and memoir with deeply personal interviews and conversations with refugees from Burma, Afghanistan and South Sudan who have made Western Australia their home.

More information
More events

Host a Screening of Freedom Stories

If you want to get involved in Refugee Week, but you’re not sure how, consider hosting a screening of Freedom Stories. The film tells the stories of a group of people who arrived in Australia in 2001 seeking asylum, and the challenges and successes that they have experienced over the last 15 years. This poignant documentary charts the journey of finding safety in Australia, building a new life, and the nostalgia for what has been left behind.

There are still a limited number of educational copies of Freedom Stories to be featured in Refugee Week events. If you would like to host an event in your school, community organisation, library, town hall or local theatre, sign up here and we will send you the information you need to host your very own screening of Freedom Stories. Host a screening of Freedom Stories and help all Australians better understand the great resilience and contributions of refugees.

If you’d rather attend a screening that is already taking place, why not attend one of the many screenings taking place up and down the country?
  • Melbourne Screening, hosted by the Refugee Council of Australia
    Lido Cinemas Hawthorn
    20th June, 7pm
    Book tickets
Additionally, you can find a screening near you by going to Freedom Stories screenings page and find everything happening for Refugee Week at the Refugee Week 2016 events page.
Refugee Week could not take place without the support of its generous sponsors.  The Pricnipal Sponsor Victorian Government’s VMC, major sponsors for 2016 include AMES Australia, Core Community Services, Life Without Barriers, Settlement Services International (SSI) and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Thanks also to our other sponsors: Navitas English, Jesuit Social Services, NSW Teachers Federation, City of Melbourne, City of Sydney, Inner West Council, Multicultural NSW, Foundation House, and to our Refugee Week partners: Australian Refugee Association, Baptcare, Wyndham CEC, Amnesty International Australia, Caritas Australia and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
For more information about our sponsors and to sponsor Refugee Week, click here.

To find out more about the work of AMES Australia in supporting refugees, see their website here.

Refugee Week Ambassadors

Refugee Week Ambassadors are inspiring individuals who are either from a refugee background or who have an interest in and understanding of refugee and migrant issues in Australia. Their role as Ambassador is to celebrate and humanise the contribution of refugees. For the full list of Refugee Week ambassadors see here. If you would like to contact any of the Refugee Week Ambassadors regarding a media inquiry or to speak at your event, please contact 

Meet the Ambassador:
Mariam Issa

Mariam fled the Somali civil war in 1991 and arrived in Australia in 1998 with her husband and four children, with a fifth child on the way. It was no walk in the park, however Mariam was determined to integrate into this new community where it seemed nobody wanted her and her family. In 2012, Mariam launched her autobiography –  A Resilient Life. And in the same year she confounded an incorporated non for profit organisation – RAW (Resilient Aspiring Women),to create better social environments for all women. RAW is a platform, a community garden and a meeting place for all women in the backyard of her Brighton home.

Today, she is a voice for women everywhere, and is a strong believer that all women, regardless of culture, creed, or background, need someone to believe in and support them. Mariam believes that the true potential of women is immense and when nurtured, has the ability to shine and prosper.

Meet the Ambassador:
Bwe Thay

Bwe Thay arrived in Australia in 2009 as a refugee, having fled the Burmese civil war. He decided to pursue higher education in order to get his life back on track.  Over the course of his studies, he joined a number of advocacy committees, including the Refugee Tertiary Education Committee (RTEC), which encourages universities to open their doors, offer online scholarships and give access to higher education for refugee migrants and asylum seekers in transition or refugee camps across the world.

Bwe now works as a Program Officer and Community Liaison Officer at Swinburne University of Technology and works passionately towards the empowerment of different communities through education.

Download the Refugee Week Resource Pack
Host Freedom Stories screening
Remember Refugee Week 2015

Refugee Council of Australia mailing address is:
Suite 4A6, 410 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010

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Copyright © 2016, Refugee Council of Australia, All rights reserved. Since 1986 Australia has celebrated Refugee Week recognising the contribution of refugees and people seeking asylum, and coordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia.