How is SSI responding to the Israel and Gaza crisis? SSI statement here. For new arrivals and host families contact us here.

23 May 2019

Media releases

Social inclusion and diversity at the heart of upcoming TEDxSydney conference

The 2019 legacy-themed conference will be held on Friday, May 24, at the International Convention Centre (ICC).

The SSI and TEDxSydney partnership involves a “Pay It Forward” initiative, whereby conference registrants can give community members from a wide range of SSI programs — including disability services, refugee resettlement, multicultural foster care, and startups — the opportunity to attend the conference for free.

Speakers covering the topics of science, business, technology, art, design, entertainment and culture will discuss the impact that personal, organisational and intergenerational legacy can have on humankind.

High-achieving entrepreneur and autism advocate Haydn Payne is part of the SSI cohort attending the conference and is excited about the opportunity.

“I often watch TED talks to spark new ideas for my own business. I’m stoked to have the opportunity to attend and see it live in action,” he said.

With the support of IgniteAbility® Small Business Start-ups — a pilot program established by SSI to facilitate business creation for people with a disability — Mr Payne is developing a podcast series for high functioning young adults on the autism spectrum.

After being wrongly diagnosed with ADHD, Mr Payne was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 16 and, in the context of the 1990s when it was not a social condition many were aware of, had to break barriers and cope with his condition through his own set of resilience tactics.

“As someone growing up in a low socioeconomic environment, and during a time in the ’90s when many didn’t know what Asperger’s even was, I found myself facing many challenges,” he said.

“After many frustrations, I decided to do something more proactively and get involved in the autism community and advocate to raise awareness.”

Diversity and disability peer facilitator and mentor Pauline David is another community member attending the conference and part of the SSI cohort.

As someone from an Assyrian background who has lived with a physical disability from birth, Ms David has experienced social, cultural and structural related barriers her whole life and now advocates for improved accessibility for herself and others.

“Through sharing my story, I hope to challenge perceptions, attitudes and stigmas to help improve community access for people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds,” Ms David said.

“Attending the upcoming TEDxSydney conference will help inspire some new ideas for my advocacy work,” Ms David said.

“I hope to connect with new networks and spread the word on diversity and inclusion in the wider community.”

TEDxSydney Founder and Licensee Remo Giuffré said that TEDxSydney is thrilled to be able to give SSI program participants a unique learning experience through the ‘Pay It Forward’ initiative.

“At the core of TEDxSydney, we aim to create a connected community, and it’s great to be able to collaborate with SSI and bring the two communities together,” Mr Giuffré said.

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said that the collaboration between the two organisations took a fresh approach in encouraging the broader community to get involved and support marginalised communities to attend a high-profile event.

“Through this wonderful partnership, we’re able to provide a seamless way for the wider community to give back to those people who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to attend a TEDxSydney conference,” Ms Roumeliotis said.

“SSI appreciates the ongoing support and generosity of TEDxSydney and its members, who are empowering people to change their lives through direct exposure to myriad brilliant speakers and thought-provoking conversation.”


About SSI:
Settlement Services International is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality.

Media enquiries:

SSI Communications Officer, Rebeka Selmeczki, M: 0478 679 078 E:

Other media releases

Send this to a friend