Refugee Week Forum – Refugee reflections: Building resilience and belonging

Refugee Week LogoThe Victorian Multicultural Commission is conducting a Refugee Week Forum – Refugee reflections: Building resilience and belonging online on Friday 26 June at 11:00AM. The Victorian Multicultural Commission invites you to join them for an insightful conversation about refugees, resilience and belonging.


About this Event

The Victorian Multicultural Commission invites you to an online forum to mark the significance of Refugee Week 2020.

Refugees and asylum seekers are among our newest community members, but what makes them feel they belong? What can we learn from their experiences to build resilience in our community and inform our recovery from COVID-19?

Our diverse panel of former refugees and human rights advocates will share their personal stories, experiences and perspectives to inform this discussion.

And together, we’ll explore what we can all do to better support and embrace refugees and asylum seekers into our lives and communities.

MC and facilitator: Vivienne Nguyen, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission

Panel members

Craig Foster, former International Socceroos Captain and human rights advocate

Mercy Akongo, social justice advocate, writer and motivational public speaker

Dr Judy Tang, Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission

Hakeem al-Araibi, Australian Footballer

Biographies

Craig Foster, former International Socceroos Captain and human rights advocate

Craig was the former captain of the Socceroos and is a highly respected media presenter with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Craig is also a dedicated global advocate for diversity, social harmony and human rights. In 2018-19 Craig became a national hero in leading a global advocacy and lobbying campaign to free a young refugee footballer, Hakeem al-Araibi, who was imprisoned in a Thai prison, and in danger of extradition to Bahrain where he faced torture.

As a member of the Multicultural Council of Australia, Craig is dedicated to ensuring the ongoing social harmony of Australia’s diverse and changing population. He works with a number of organisations to deliver social programs in Indigenous football, homelessness, domestic violence. He is an Ambassador for Human Rights and Refugees with Amnesty Australia, has developed a primary school initiative with the Australian Government for Harmony Day and is a former Chairman, Life Member and CEO of Professional Footballers Australia.

Mercy Akongo, social justice advocate, writer and motivational public speaker

Right from the tender age of 8, Mercy started on a journey of sacrifice, service to the poor, fighting for oppressed women and giving voice to vulnerable children. Mercy became the youngest founding member of the Uganda Minority Rights Taskforce and the Uganda Pastoralist Taskforce: `The Untapped Potentials` which became the main advocacy bodies for minority communities in Uganda from the local level through to the national level, including in the Parliament of Uganda.

In Australia, Mercy has worked in a broad range of organisations including the Australian Red Cross, Settlement Services International, Ethnic Community Services Cooperative and Jesuit Social Services.

Mercy currently runs a charity, `This Life Foundation` which supports child-headed families in Northern Uganda. This follows her experience working with internally displaced people in Northern Uganda, including those living in camps.

Dr Judy Tang, Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission and Clinical Neuropsychologist

Judy Tang is a strong advocate for multicultural and LGBTQI+ communities with expertise in psychology, ageing, research and mental health. With extensive relationships across government and community groups, Judy has volunteered for more than 10 years to promote and advocate for multiculturalism and equality for migrants.

She is a former VMC Multicultural Champion and President of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council, a national body that advocates for the rights of multicultural and multifaith LGBTQI+ people and communities. Judy has a doctorate in neuropsychology and is a practicing Clinical Neuropsychologist.

Hakeem al-Araibi, Australian Footballer

Hakeem al-Araibi is an Australian footballer and former asylum seeker of Bahraini descent.

In January 2014, he was playing in an international tournament in Qatar when he received a call informing him that he had been convicted in absentia — for being one of the protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at a police station, when in fact he had been on television playing football that night — and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Fearing for his life, he fled, first to Iran and then to Malaysia and Australia as an asylum seeker. At the age of 20, he had to leave everything he knew behind, never to return. He was arrested on arrival in Thailand from Australia for a vacation in November 2018 and was held there pending deportation to Bahrain. There was a campaign urging Thailand not to extradite him, when the Thai Office of the Attorney-General dropped the extradition case against him at Bahrain’s request. He was returned to Australia the next day and became an Australian citizen in the weeks thereafter.

He has played as a defender in several semi-professional football teams in Victoria; his current team is Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne.

This event will be hosted on Zoom and you will receive the log-in details once you confirm your registration. Participants will be invited to share their questions and thoughts through a Q&A function.

Date and Time

Friday, 26 June 2020
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM AEST
Online Event
Organiser Victorian Multicultural Commission
Organiser of Refugee Week Forum – Refugee reflections: Building resilience and belonging

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Refugee Week Forum - Refugee reflections: Building resilience and belonging

 

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