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The power to welcome: Supporting refugee students in our midst

27 October 2022
1.00pm – 2.00pm AEDT
This event has ended
student sitting down writing in notepad

A student’s life can be amazing, and sometimes lonely and full of uncertainty – but there are extra, invisible challenges for students from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds. That might explain why only 5 per cent of refugees worldwide have meaningful access to higher education. With crises in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Ukraine, among others, you’re probably in class with someone who has experienced displacement, whether you know it or not. So let’s build a culture of welcome – starting here, now.

In this candid, interactive, and friendly forum, students who have experienced displacement will share their experience of university life and tips on how others can show support and solidarity.

This free event is your chance to help lead a culture of welcome at UNSW Sydney.


Meet our speakers

Dr Alfred Mupenzi is a lecturer and a Senior Project Support Officer for the Refugee, New and Emerging Communities program at Western Sydney University.  Dr Mupenzi finished his PhD in Education at Western Sydney University in 2018. He also trained in Uganda as a high school teacher at Makerere University where he finished his Masters of Arts in Public Administration and Management. He specialises in equity, diversity, migration  and social justice education. He has published several peer reviewed articles on educational resilience most recently a chapter entitled  “Navigating the Australian Education System Refugees and New Arrivals: An Insider’s View” in  the Handbook of Research on Teaching Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse International Students.

Kobra Sayyadi is a recent BA graduate from Macquarie University and a former student ambassador and ASRC CAPP program candidate. Kobra has an interest in writing, storytelling and cultural journalism. Currently, Kobra is completing a residency with the Bankstown Arts Centre for the 2022 Bankstown Biennale. She is also a member of Saba Group, a youth-led community organisation advocating scholarship and education for the Hazara diaspora in Australia.

Shahida Haydari is a third year university student studying a bachelor of business and law. Shahida is an active youth leader who is passionate about social justice and helping marginalised communities. Shahida is a strong advocate for issues affecting refugees and mental health issues.

Chair: Jane McAdam AO, Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre. Professor McAdam is internationally renowned as a thought leader in the field of forced migration and refugee law, particularly for her work on climate change-related displacement. Her contributions have been widely recognised, including as finalist for NSW Woman of the Year, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and one of Australia’s top ten ‘Women of Influence’ in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence awards. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia ‘for distinguished service to international refugee law, particularly to climate change and the displacement of people’.