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Refugee Week 2023: A celebration of “Finding Freedom”

Thousands of people across Australia joined us for another successful Refugee Week in 2023, gathering to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions to our communities made by refugees and people seeking asylum.
The cook up
Adam Liaw and Oliver Slewa on Adam Liaw’s The Cook Up. Image credit: Jiwon Kim @jiwonkaeshoots

As both coordinator of Refugee Week and the national umbrella body for refugees and the refugee sector, RCOA is guided by the voices of those with lived experience. Our theme for Refugee Week 2023, Finding Freedom, was developed through a public vote involving members of the diverse refugee communities.

Every day, millions of people across the world embark on dangerous journeys for the sole purpose of finding safety and freedom. Throughout Refugee Week, we shared “Stories of Freedom”, a series of portraits featuring what freedom means to former refugees now living in Adelaide. We encouraged the public to examine their own version of freedom and reflect on what it would be like to live without fear of war, live in equality and have your basic human rights upheld. The portraits were taken by Muzafar Ali, a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan, in collaboration with the Australian Migrant Resource Centre.

Watandar, My Countryman, Q+A session with photographer Muzafar Ali, moderated by Elly Kohistani. Image credit Jolyon Hoff

From 18–24 June, communities and organisations across the country explored the meaning of finding freedom through a range of events, such as the launch of the “Billion Dollar Benefit” report by our event partner, Settlement Services International (SSI), screenings of Muzafar Ali’s new film, Watandar, My Countryman, awards nights, panel discussions, training sessions and sporting events.

Our partnership with SBS Food continued with two Season 5 episodes of The Cook Up with Adam Liaw, featuring our National Refugee Ambassadors, Abang and Oliver.

From humble beginnings in the 1980s, Refugee Week has grown to be an international movement. It is Australia’s peak annual activity to promote greater awareness of refugees, the issues they face and the contribution they are making to the Australian community.

Violet Roumeliotis speaking at the World Refugee Day Fair. Image credit: Danish Ravi

Our National Refugee Ambassadors were in high demand during this time, delivering 38 presentations to more than 4,100 people across the country.

Throughout the week, we were proud to receive more than 97,000 visits to the Refugee Week website, 602 mentions of Refugee Week in the media and 6,200 downloads of our resources, including editable Refugee Week Canva templates, along with our Event Resources and Teachers Resource Kits.

Find out how to become a sponsor of Refugee Week 2024Read the full Refugee Week 2023 report 

SponsorsThis year’s Refugee Week celebrations would not have been possible without the incredible support of our sponsors.

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