Preparations are under way for the launch of Refugee Week which will this year be held in Western Sydney for the first time.
Refugee Week, Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees, will be launched at the Granville Town Hall at 10.30am, Saturday 14 June.
The launch is being coordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) and Settlement Services International (SSI).
The keynote speech will be delivered by Merrylands local Ali Ali, a former refugee who fled the Taliban in Afghanistan and arrived in Australia in 2001 as a 17-year-old asylum seeker with no English.
Ali’s speech will expand on the Refugee Week theme “Restoring Hope”, recounting how his journey for safety began with danger as well as hope for a better future.
After being detained at the remote Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia and experiencing the uncertainty of life on a Temporary Protection Visa, Ali enrolled at Holroyd High School and continued his studies, graduating with a Master’s Degree.
The Refugee Week launch will also feature a speech by RCOA President Phil Glendenning, presentation of the NSW Humanitarian Awards and entertainment by a Tamil group.
RCOA chief executive officer said the launch was an important opportunity for the Western Sydney community to celebrate the achievements of refugees in local communities.
“Since Federation, Australia has welcomed more than 800,000 humanitarian arrivals, who have played a vital role in building vibrant, diverse and supportive communities.
“The decision to launch Refugee Week in Granville reflects the positive impact refugee settlement is playing in the social, economic and community life of Australia’s third-largest economy.”
For further information about Refugee Week (Sunday 15 June to Saturday 21 June), local events, Ambassador profiles and more, visit www.refugeeweek.org.au
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0488 035 535