Refugee Week 2020: Refugee Council (RCOA) Official line-up, resources & more


Image: Refugee Week Launch 2019, Kim Landy

With just over a week to go until we kick off Australia’s first-ever digital Refugee Week, we have been busy, busy, busy planning at the Refugee Council (RCOA) HQ and we’re so excited to share with you what we’ve got in store!

Digital entertainment program
With the future of lockdown restrictions uncertain, we’ve put together an incredible week of digital entertainment which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home:  

  • Sunday, 14th June, 6.15pm, On ‘Welcome’: Migration, First Nations and Refugee Communities: for the official Refugee Week 2020 launch, panelists from first nations and refugee communities take a deep dive into the meaning of ‘welcome’ and the intersections of indigenous and refugee rights. Hosted in collaboration with the Wheeler Centre.*
  • Monday, 15th June, 6.15pm, Words Without Borders: an evening of spoken word and poetry performed by members of Australia’s Refugee communities, in collaboration with The Wheeler Centre.*
  • Wednesday, 16th June, 12pm, Voices from the front line: Refugee women and COVID-19: Refugee and asylum seeking women and leaders of frontline services share their experiences of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.*
  • Wednesday, 16th June, Global storytelling night, in partnership with Refugee Week UK.  Join four amazing people from around the world as they share their stories of ‘welcome’ and ‘imagination’, based on this year’s themes. MC’ed by the awesome Mariam Issa.*
  • Thursday, 18th June, 1pm, Foundations for Belonging: Join ABC’s Lydia Feng in conversation with Shanthi Robertson (Western Sydney University), Dor Achiek (Settlement Services International) and Shukufa Tahiri (Refugee Council of Australia) for this special Australia at Home event.*
  • Thursday 18th June, 4pm, In-Depth Conversation: Join Cate Blanchett in conversation with Australia for UNHCR Special Representative Marta Dusseldorp.
  • Friday 19th June, 7.30pm, For Sama: Tune in for this special screening of Oscar-nominated and multi-award winning film For Sama. In partnership with the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival.
  • Saturday, 20th June: STARTTS annual Humanitarian Awards, to celebrate World Refugee Day and wrap up Refugee Week.*

Click here to receive a daily update during Refugee Week, to let you know what’s happening every day and share with people who might be interested.

Of course, we also encourage you to host your own event, and this year, we’ve put together everything you need to make it easier than ever.  Read on to find out how.

*These events are free to attend. If you would like to make a ticket donation to support the costs of Refugee Week, please click here.  All participants from refugee and first nations backgrounds are paid for their participation and any further funds raised go to supporting the advocacy of the Refugee Council of Australia

Click the LINK below to head to the Refugee Week website, to obtain all of the 2020 resources, including posters, resource packs and more. You can also read about our incredible ambassadors and much more.


If you’d like to get involved in Refugee Week 2020 but you’re not sure how, consider signing up to host an event.  You can organise any kind of event you’d like and register it here to include it in the official tally.

However, we know you’re busy people, so we’ve made it easier than ever for you to host a great event, by putting together everything you need to share a special meal and a story with friends, family, colleagues, or others in your community – either in person or online.

We’ve teamed up with SBS Food Online to bring you a suite of recipe videos featuring members of Australia’s refugee communities cooking their favourite dishes and letting you know what that meal means to them.  You can cook these dishes for your friends and family and share the story that goes with that dish, all while raising money for a great cause!

What’s more, we’ve compiled over 20 recipes and stories into our first ever e-cookbook, featuring a mouth-watering collection of starters, mains and desserts for you to enjoy again and again.

The cookbook and videos will be released during Refugee Week, but in the meantime, head to the Share a Meal, Share a Story page to register your event, pick your recipe and invite people along!

Face to Face: Host an incredible speaker

Samah Shda

We’re spoiling you, you say?  Yes, yes we are. Another treat we’ve lined up for Refugee Week 2020 is that you can now host our amazing Face to Face speakers in your workplace, community group or otherwise.  In addition, the program is now available both online and in person.

Since 2014, the Face to Face program has brought people with lived refugee experience into schools to share their experiences with students. The program has been a huge success, providing a powerful way for kids to connect with the refugee experience on a personal level.  Now, for the first time, you can also participate as a workplace, or other group, online or in person.

Samah Shda (pictured) is one of our incredible speakers. She and her family are Assyrian and lived in Iraq as she was growing up.  They were forced out of their home by extremist groups and spent years waiting in limbo to find a safe home. In 2019, they were resettled in Sydney. Samah says, “We were beyond happy, and more than ready to plan our futures in a place where we felt safe and dignified”.

Since then, Samah has worked hard for refugee rights; she is actively involved with refugee resettlement organisations and refugee-led national advocacy networks. As well as participating in the Face to Face program, Samah volunteers with Amnesty International and is currently leading a research project focused on access to higher education in Australia for people from refugee backgrounds. Samah says, “I believe in using my own experience and story to raise awareness”.

All our speakers are highly trained and paid for their time. Click the button below to read more about the program and book an amazing speaker like Samah for your school or workplace.