Symposium 2022 – wrap-up and presentations

Sebastian GeersNews

The 2022 Welcoming Australia Symposium was a great success, it was exciting to feel the buzz of ideas and new connections in the room.

A packed program featured Dr Alethea Beetson delivering the First Nations keynote, David Pocock (National Keynote), Professor john powell (International keynote) and an exceptional line-up of community practitioners, Local Government representatives, researchers, and community leaders.

Aside from the inspiring, thought provoking and challenging presentations, Welcoming Cities launched Stories of Welcome Volume 3 at the Symposium, featuring 14 case studies of outstanding work from our members. The winners of the inaugural Welcoming Cities Awards for Change were announced at the Symposium reception. This saw three winners Hume City Council (Local Government), THe Aqua English Project (Organisation) and Nick and Kate Land (Individuals).

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 ACT Government 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.

Day 1

First Nations keynote


Dr Alethea Beetson, Creative Director Digi Youth Arts

Blue Sky Moments: Stories of Success


  • Aunty Violet Sheridan, Director, Traditional Elders Owners Corporation
  • Aunty Sally Vea Vea, Darumbal Elder
  • Peter Morris, General Manager, RAP Program, Reconciliation Australia

National keynote


Sport and Belonging: From Platitudes to Game Plan
David Pocock, Former Wallabies Captain

Encouraging Participation: Role of local government in sport, recreation & healthy lifestyles

Nader Ibrahim, Chief Operations Officer, One Culture

Paul Zimny, Active Living Leader, City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Sarah Scarce, Founding Director, The Aqua English Project

Sarah Buchanan, Community Programs Coordinator, Logan City Council

Day One Wrap up


Aleem Ali, CEO, Welcoming Australia

Day 2

Opening Provocation


Renee Dixson, Co-Founder, Forcibly Displaced People Network

International Keynote


This isn’t my party; othering, belonging and bridging Professor john a powell, Director, Othering and Belonging Institute Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies

Community Support for Humanitarian Settlement


Shabnam Safa, Chair, National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG)

Lisa Button, CEO, Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia

Partnering for Belonging


Erica Borrowdale, Principal Program Officer, Multicultural Affairs, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs

Cassie White, CEO, Paroo Shire Council

Looking Forward: challenges and opportunities for Australian migration


Abul Rizvi, former official Department of Immigration

Carla Wilshire OAM, Centre for Digital Wellbeing – Digitalisation and social media – the new frontier of social cohesion

Stories of Welcome


Jenny Wells, Senior Director, Office for Multicultural Affairs, ACT

Dr Sana Ashraf, Assistant Director| Office for Multicultural Affairs, ACT

Julie Andrews, Coordinator Community Capacity Building, City of Hume Maia Tua-Davidson, Manager Welcoming Clubs, Welcoming Australia

Closing Address


Bwe Thay, Deputy Chair, Victorian Multicultural Commission