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On Unity: Refugees, Community and Connection


In an increasingly turbulent world, the need to stand united is greater than ever. In the face of the pandemic, climate change, and global conflict, unity is strength. Working together, we survive, thrive and progress.

Together with the Refugee Council of Australia, we’re hosting the official launch of Refugee Week 2021, celebrating the theme of Unity. We’ll explore the power of unity in action, and the connections between emerging communities in Australia.

A panel of community members and leaders will take a deep dive into the power that comes from diverse groups working together and explore the question: what does it take to evolve from ‘welcome’ to ‘unity’? Afterwards, the event will be rounded out by a special performance by Gordon Koang.

Presented in partnership with the Refugee Council of Australia


Gordon Koang

Gordon Koang is a Nuer speaker and musician hailing from the Upper Nile region of what is now South Sudan. Accompanied by his cousin Paul Biel, Gordon performs a blend of traditional Nuer rhythms and original compositions in English, Arabic, and his native language, Nuer.  Having recently arrived i... Read more

Asher Hirsch

Asher is a Senior Policy Officer with the Refugee Council of Australia and lecturer at Monash University in public law, human rights, and refugee law. 

His expertise is in research, policy development and advocacy on national and international issues impacting refugee communities.

Peter Doyle

Peter Doyle is a former global account director in the software industry, who after retiring in Anglesea in 2009 with his wife Desi, decided his decades of experience in high-level business strategy could be put to good use in community projects. This included an initiative to build Scottish-style ... Read more

Shahad Bahnan

Shahad Bahnan is originally from Bakhdida, a small Assyrian city in northern Iraq. She fled to Amman in Jordan in 2013, when life in Iraq reached a dangerous peak particularly for minority groups. Shahad says she was given a second chance by resettling in Australia in June 2016 with her husband... Read more

Mukhles Habash

Mukhles Habash is of Syriac ethnicity and came to Australia from Iraq as a refugee in 2016. A veterinarian back in Iraq, his passion for supporting refugee communities has seen him involved in Geelong’s Multicultural Action Plan Committee, volunteering for the Red Cross and Diversitat, and also f... Read more

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.