Refugee Week 2017 was officially Australia’s biggest to date, with over 500 events celebrated across the country in every state and territory. Film screenings, art exhibitions, circus performances, public storytelling, music festivals, comedy galas, poetry slams, fashion shows, a smorgasbord of mouth-watering food and much, much more brought out tens of thousands of Australians to celebrate the courage and contribution that refugees bring to their adopted nation.
The official Refugee Week celebrations included the NSW Refugee Week Launch at Paddington Town Hall, featuring live entertainment, workshops and a reading by Mem Fox; the Refugee Film Festival which enjoyed sold-out screenings across the country; and the second annual Festival of Welcome in Melbourne, which saw artists from refugee backgrounds playing alongside Australian artists such as Dan Sultan, with thousands braving the wintry weather to dance, eat and celebrate in spite of the wintry weather.
Throughout the week, in every state and territory you came out to show your support and appreciation for Australia’s refugee communities. Over 15000 Queenslanders attended the annual Luminous Lantern Parade. In South Australia, a full week of events was held at Government House, including films, speeches and community dinners. Tasmanians celebrated with a community kitchen, a welcome tree and much more. In ACT, the Refugee Soccer World Cup brought together players of all stripes for a friendly competition, whilst those in the Northern Territory were treated to an incredible World Music Festival.
A huge thank you also goes to our Refugee Week Sponsors, without whom this would not have been possible. This year’s major sponsors were the City of Sydney, Community Migrant Resource Centre, Settlement Services International (SSI) and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Check out some of the photos from the event here.