The Refugee Council of Australia and Melbourne Social Equity Institute are proud to share the outcomes of the second annual conference Refugee Alternatives: Improving policy, practice and public support, held 13-14 February 2018. The two-day conference, hosted at the University of Melbourne, brought together a broad range of expertise from across the country and globally to cover topics of displacement, protection, cooperation, wellbeing, resilience, education, advocacy, and unity.
The conference built on its premise from the previous year that lived experience is the foundation of better policy development, and that the voices of those from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds should drive policy design, content, and delivery. The 59 speakers and moderators, over 53% of whom had lived experience of seeking asylum, living as a refugee or a stateless person, were joined by 450 attendees from refugee backgrounds, academia, service provision, advocacy, policymaking, and other engaged individuals.
The conference’s goal of seeking alternatives was expressed through 15 diverse sessions on a broad range of themes, each seeking to conclude with purposeful and actionable strategies and recommendations at the global, regional or national levels. The 2018 conference also saw a new focus on the local, and included specific recommendations for local governments and civil society organisations. An overview of these themes and recommendations can be found below. A session-by-session recap of the conference, including all its emerging ideas and policy recommendations, is available in the full conference report.