Australia’s 2020–21 refugee program was the smallest it’s been in 45 years – just 5,947 visas were granted. This is grossly inadequate to meet the growing number of refugees in urgent need around the world. We know Australia can do better for refugees and people seeking asylum.
In our first Refugee Alternatives webinar of 2023, on 4 April 2023, we explored Australia’s role in resettlement against a global backdrop of increasing need. Our speakers shed light on how increasing Australia’s refugee intake and resettlement pathways will enable a more humane response to political and environmental crises while enriching communities across the country.
Yousufi is Captain and Goalkeeper for the Afghanistan Women’s soccer team. The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan saw Fatima and her teammates flee their country instead of competing in Asian Cup qualifiers in August of 2021. While they have been able to play with great success as the Melbourne Victory Afghan Women’s team, Fatima and her team have faced heartbreak leaving friends and family behind. Seeing the situation in Afghanistan worsen has made the future of those left behind even more uncertain. Fatima and the team have described themselves as a voice for Afghan women, who are able to stand up and advocate for the rights of the women of Afghanistan.
Louna Ghawi is the Australian and New Zealand Co-Director at Talent Beyond Boundaries, and the lead on operations and the implementation of the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. She is also a member of the Australian Red Cross’s Victorian Divisional Advisory Board and Victorian International Humanitarian Law Committee. She has a Master Degree in Economics and social sciences Major in Finance Banking and international negotiation (University of Montesquieu-Bordeaux IV – France 2007) Bachelor degree In Economics major in Business Administration ( Damascus university –Syria 2005) Diploma in Project Management from Australia.
Abang Anade Othow
Abang Anade Othow is a public educator, a national refugee ambassador, an author and a researcher. Her journey has taken her from war-torn Sudan, through Ethiopia and Kenya and finally, to Australia as an 18-year-old. After being approached by a modelling agent, Abang felt empowered through her career in international fashion, a role that allowed her to become reunited with ten family members, including her mother. They had not seen each other since Abang was 5 years old. Abang has since completed courses at TAFE, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Teaching and a Diploma of Business. Currently in the process of writing her autobiography, she hopes to share her journey to inspire other young girls coming to Australia as refugees.
Paul Power, CEO of Refugee Council of Australia
Paul Power has been CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia since 2006. His prior work involved significant time in the NGO sector as a media officer, trainer, researcher and manager, as well as a 12-year career in newspaper as a journalist and editor. Paul is a board member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and was appointed to the Australian Government’s Advisory Panel on Australia’s Resettlement of Afghan Nationals in 2021.Under Paul’s leadership, RCOA has supported the development of refugee-led advocacy networks at state, national, Asia-Pacific and global levels and continues to advocate for the rights of those seeking asylum in Australia.