Events

Supporting the settlement of refugees in our National Capital.

You can visit us on twitter – @CRS_Refugee

Upcoming CRS and CRS supported events

Events will be added to this site as they are programmed or advised to us.

 

Regular events

Committee Meetings – 2017

Usually first Wednesday of each month from 7.30 to 9.00pm except School Holidays. Meetings are held in the Delphi Room at the Hellenic Club in Woden.

Please email us at actrefugee@gmail.com if you would like further information. Members are always welcome to attend Committee meetings – but please check as meetings are sometimes cancelled. Please note that we don’t have Committee meetings during school holidays.

Committee Meetings for the rest of 2017 are planned as follows:

  • 4 October
  • 1 November
  • 6 December

The AGM was held on Wednesday 6th September.

Orientation Sessions 

We hold regular orientation sessions, usually less than two hours, to explain the work of CRS and to introduce new members to the organisation. Please note that we don’t conduct orientation sessions during school holidays. The planned program is as follows

  • Monday 9 October
  • Monday 27 November

The sessions run from 6.30 to 8.00pm.

Please contact actrefugee@gmail.com to check the date, location and time if you’d like to attend, or if you would like further information.

Share What You Know Workshops

Last year we very successfully trialled ‘Share What You Know Workshops‘ which are an opportunity for members to discuss cases and swap ideas on how to do things better, or other options for providing support. We plan to hold more of these next  year.

These workshops are for members only. More information will be provided through emails and the Newsletter once dates and details have been finalised.

Some Past Events

CRS Fundraising Dinner – 12 October 2017 – First Report

The 2017 CRS Fundraising Dinner was held at The Hellenic Club in Phillip on Thursday 12 October.

Once again, the Hellenic Club provided a terrific venue, with efficient and courteous service and delicious food. This is more than a club: worth making the effort to visit.

Our first keynote speaker was Dr Kim Huynh. As an Indochinese Boat person, Kim discussed how proud he is of being a refugee and has increasingly come to realise how his refugeeness has shaped his personal and professional life as an academic, radio presenter and politician. He drew upon his article “Refugeeness: what’s good and not so good about being persecuted and displaced?” which can be downloaded here: http://mams.rmit.edu.au/k2gnu0t4iwu1.pdf.

Kim has earned a BA (Hons) and a PhD in International Relations. He is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. His areas of expertise areInternational Relations, political theory and political philosophy, literary studies not elsewhere classified and Australian government and politics. His Research interests are political theory, political literature, children and armed conflict, forced migration, Vietnamese politics and society.

KimKim Huynh’s family arrived in Canberra as Vietnamese boatpeople in 1979 and have been here ever since. He grew up working in the family bakery and can still make decent scones and slices.

Kim wrote about his family and twentieth century Vietnam in Where the Sea Takes Us: A Vietnamese-Australian story – all the copies he had for sale (with all proceeds being donated to Companion House) were snapped up.

He’s also published a collection of novellas about contemporary Vietnamese young people entitled, Vietnam as if… Tales of youth, love and destiny.  He has published journal articles and book chapters on political theory, Vietnamese politics, women’s studies and refugee politics, and has written essays and opinion editorials for a range of Australian newspapers along with the BBC Vietnamese. Kim currently writes a column for the RiotACT.

He’s a recipient of the ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and lectures courses on international relations, political philosophy and Australian politics. He has supervised honours and PhD students in these areas.

Kim is also a part-time presenter on the ABC Radio Canberra Drive Program and prior to joining the Drive team, Kim had a “Human Nature” segment on ABC Radio Canberra Breakfast in which he provided expert commentary on everything from hipsters to school reunions to the differences between Eastern and Western civilisation.

Later in the evening we were privileged to have a second keynote speaker, Mr Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia. His speech was confronting as he detailed the facts and figures about asylum seekers and refugees, putting the political spin into a human context.

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Paul has been Chief Executive Officer of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), the national umbrella body for 200 agencies working with refugees and asylum seekers, since 2006.

 

Paul leads the organisation’s policy development and public education on refugee issues and its advocacy with the Australian Government, international networks and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since 2012, Paul has served as a Steering Committee member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. Paul has served as a member of the Australian Government’s Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (2008-14) and as co-chair of the global Working Group on Resettlement and the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (2011-12).

Prior to joining RCOA, Paul worked in the NGO sector as a media officer, trainer, researcher and manager, after a 12-year career in the newspaper industry as a journalist and editor. Through his NGO work, Paul has been involved with projects in international aid, community development, mental health support, volunteer training, social research and advocacy.

Prior to joining RCOA, Paul worked in the NGO sector as a media officer, trainer, researcher and manager, after a 12-year career in the newspaper industry as a journalist and editor. Through his NGO work, Paul has been involved with projects in international aid, community development, mental health support, volunteer training, social research and advocacy.

The link to his speech is at https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Rebuilding-damaged-reputation-170907.pdf and more information on the issues can be gleaned from the RCOA Get Facts page at https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/get-facts/

The success of the dinner was due to the hard work of the organisers and their support teams. It is hard to single out individuals, but Morna again rates a special mention – thank you.  And we again thank the wonderful Alex Sloan for being our MC for the evening – her friendship and professional relationship with Kim added a lovely atmosphere to proceedings.

The fundraising events were also successful, so a big, heartfelt thank you to the organisers, the workers and to the various individuals and organisations that contributed the fabulous prizes.

Thanks to the following sites for biographical information:

https://refugeealternatives.org.au/paul-power/

https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/about-us-2/board-and-staff/

https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/huynh-kt

http://www.abc.net.au/radio/people/kim-huynh/8261628

CRS Scholarship Presentation, Monday 20 June 2017

To mark UN World Refugee Day each year, Canberra Refugee Support sponsors a refugee scholarship program to recognise and support refugees in Canberra. 2017 was the thirteenth year a public scholarship program has been delivered. This is probably the most significant event in the CRS calendar which this year was held on Tuesday 20 June at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in Civic.

The purpose of the Canberra Refugee Support Scholarships is to recognise meritorious performance and to encourage and support outstanding refugee students in the pursuit of their personal development goals.

Scholarships are awarded to Asylum Seekers or Refugees who are studying or seeking to study at CIT, IEC or at other institutions while they are living in Canberra. Winners are selected on the basis of meritorious performance rather than academic results alone. The CRS Refugee Scholarship Program has grown from a modest “one-off” presentation, to an annual event with support from a very wide section of the ACT’s community.

In total, 52 scholarships with a total value of $31,500 were awarded. Awards ranged in size from $300 to $1000 and were spread across primary, secondary and adult students with slightly more male than female recipients and nearly 60 per cent of the awards going to school and college students.

The Scholarship Program is funded from donations. Our 56 donors consisted mainly of individuals, but also represented were churches, schools, other non-government organisations, government departments and their staff and an international agency.

We are grateful to the many donors who support the refugees who have settled in the Canberra region.

Thanks again for this effort must go to Catherine G, who repeated her outstanding work from last year – and the two years before!

Support for, and knowledge about the program is increasing rapidly. Articles in the media about the scholarships program have appeared in The Canberra Times, The Canberra Weekly, City News, The ACT Public Service ‘PSNews’ and a media release by the ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs. There was also a mention of the program on radio RN on Saturday morning.

Our MC for the event was the well-known and much loved (now retired) ABC Local Radio 666 presenter Alex Sloan, who as for the last three years, did a marvelous job to keep the event moving and flowing.

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Photo, left to right: Alex Sloan, Natasha Jacob, Rachel Stephen-Smith and Doug Hynd.

The President of CRS, Doug Hynd, noted in his introductory address that Alex is this year’s Canberra Citizen of the Year, a true reflection of the affection and respect in which she is held in Canberra. Alex was recognised for her services to the community of the ACT, through her commitment to telling the stories of Canberrans over 22 years in local radio and through her selfless support of a range of community organisations and charitable events.

In his address, Doug officially opened proceedings with an explanatory address about the program, and welcomed recipients, CRS members, other supporting guests and a delivered a special thanks to donors.

The Keynote Speaker was Ms. Natasha Yacoub, representing the Regional Representative of the UNHCR, Thomas Albrecht, who was unable to attend. Natasha gave a thought provoking and supportive addresses.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs in the ACT Government Ms Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA was another official guest, and likewise delivered a supportive and encouraging address. Doug Hynd, Natasha Yacoub and Rachel Stephen-Smith then jointly presented scholarships.

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The addresses by Doug and Rachel are at the following links:

Doug Hynd  – Speaking Notes for Item 2 CRS President

Ms. Rachel Stephen-Smith (pictured below) – 20170619 CRS scholarship event Speaking Notes

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Congratulations to all this year’s scholarship winners.

We have many people to thank for making this year’s event possible.

Firstly, our nominators: Canberra Institute of Technology; Companion House; Australian Red Cross; Navitas English, Canberra; and the ACT Education and Training Directorate, including the Introductory English Centres and the Dickson College Refugee Bridging Program.

Secondly, our organisers. The program was run this year by a team of Chris A (coordination), Catherine G (fund-raising), Judy L and Jane L (nominations), and Brian C (media and logistics), all of whom did a terrific job, with further assistance, particularly on the day, by Morna W, David C, Virginia B, Jane C, Alison T, Colleen F, Steve W, and Christine C. The thanks of all CRS members go to them and to all who helped in so many ways. Without these dedicated volunteers the event would not have been possible.

Finally, our donors. We rely on the generous support of the Canberra community to make this event possible every year. We highly value our links with all the people and organisations with whom we work to assist refugees in our local community. We are particularly grateful for the generous sponsorship we have received for scholarships, and recognised their contribution on our program of events.

 

 

 

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