Symposium 2021 – wrap-up and presentations

Sebastian GeersBlog

The 2021 Welcoming Cities Symposium was a great success, the first in-person Symposium in two years, it was exciting to feel the buzz of ideas and new connections in the room.

A packed program featured Professor Megan Davis delivering the First Nations keynote, Tim Dixon (International keynote), George Megalogenis (National keynote) and an exceptional line-up of community practitioners, Local Government representatives, researchers, and community leaders.

There were many takes on the theme More in Common? Identity and belonging in Australia. It was clear from the day that we do have more in common, and we can continue to build on our common values. Although George pointed out that it is important that the flow of migration does not create two Australia’s. 

The day was summed up well by Paul McCarthy’s excellent closing address, to borrow some words: 

“After almost 40 years, multiculturalism is entrenched in our national identity.  It is unexceptional.  But it does not mean that all people feel that they belong or that racism has been eliminated or that Australian advocacy for human rights around the world is universally supported.  That requires more effort by individuals and institutions.

There is obviously a lot of goodwill towards a future in which we are wholeheartedly welcoming,  reconciled with our Indigenous sister and brothers on their terms and with a more expansive sense of what we have in common.

Today’s presentations highlight that partnerships with local government and community are really powerful. Starting with what we have in common, and the trust developed through meaningful partnerships, we have a strong platform for progress.”

Welcoming Cities also launched three publications at the Symposium 

To everyone who was involved – thank you.

Thank you to every single person who shared the stage and offered their ideas, experiences and vulnerability.

Thank you to each and every delegate – for your generosity of conversation, engagement, questions and comments.

Thank you to our Event Partners – The Department of Home Affairs, Multicultural NSW and the Scanlon Foundation.

Thank you to our Members and Supporters – without you there is no Welcoming Cities, we exist only to support and highlight your great work. 

We would greatly value your feedback on the event, and we’re pleased to be able to make the majority of the presentations available.

We look forward to continuing the journey with you.


Presentations are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.

First Nations keynote

Professor Megan Davis (no slides)

Communicating in a Crisis

Jen Sharpe – slides [PDF 0.2MB]

Maha Krayem Abdo (no slides)

National keynote

George Megalogenis (slides unavailable)

Stories of Welcome

Tito Scohel

Emilie Wiggers – Slides [PDF 12MB]

Responding to Racism

Erin Wen Ai Chew & Molina Asthana [PDF 0.3MB]

Susana Ng – Slides [PDF 0.6MB]

NSW Anti-Racism Working Group Racial Literacy Starter Toolkit

Dr Mario Peucker – Slides [PDF 0.9MB]

International Keynote

Tim Dixon – Slides [PDF 8MB] 

Welcoming Newcomers

Yamamah Agha – slides [PDF 10MB]

Kan Dachi – slides [PDF 0.5MB]

The Art of Identity and belonging

Lena Nahlous – slides [PDF 62MB]

Titan Debirioun (no slides)

Closing Address

Paul McCarthy