Category: Forums

2013 Open Forum

May 23rd saw a stimulating forum held at Melbourne University.

The topic: Progress in the implementation of recommendations of the 2010 report – ‘In Our World – Australian Africans: A review of human rights and social inclusion issues’ by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

This report was the outcome of a three year consultation process in which African Australian communities around the country were given the opportunity to tell their settlement experiences, express key barriers preventing them from successfully establishing their life in Australia and steps taken to address their concerns. The prestigious panel of speakers evaluated the current situation in the light of this 2010 report. The speakers included: Associate Professor Andre Renzaho (School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University), Rivkah Nissim (Principal Adviser, Race Discrimination Team –Australian Human Rights Commission), Tamar Hopkins (Principal Solicitor, Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre), Jane Berry (Community Projects Solicitor, Footscray Community Legal Centre) and Abeselom Nega (CEO of iEmpower). The overall consensus was; Australian government agencies were supportive and making progress, yet recognised more needed to be done to support successful establishment of Australians from African descent.


2013 African Women’s Forum

On May 18th, the African Women’s Forum highlighted ‘The Australian Experience: New African/Australian Women and Families’ as its focussing theme.

Speakers in session one; spoke about ‘Turning Challenges into Success’. Community leaders, Mary Riek (CEO of Wang Community Association and Kushland Family Day Care) and Mariam Issa (founder of Resilient Aspiring Women), spoke about the challenges they faced as new Australian’s to overcome adversities and the personal qualities they drew upon to establish successful organisations; which are now an inspiration to all Australian women. The second session featured Theresa Sengaaga Ssali (Senior Social Worker with the New hope Foundation) and Diane Simboro (founder of Refugee Women in OZ), speaking about ‘Best Practice; Strategies to Fast Track Settlement’.

All speakers have years of experience in African/Australian settlement and shared invaluable insights on best practices for new African/Australian’s. A networking break between the two sessions (sponsored by the Victorian branch of the Women’s Federation for World Peace); allowed participants to dialogue with service providers and mingle with each other in a relaxed atmosphere.