11 June, 2015

Manningham Council is committed to being an open and diverse community, and we are extremely proud to have joined the Refugee Council of Australia to publically declare our commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees and migrants into the community.

Manningham Mayor, Cr Paul McLeish, said being a Migrant and Refugee Welcome Zone reinforces the City’s commitment to uphold human rights and support our most vulnerable.

“Manningham’s pledge is to demonstrate compassion to all of those who seek to build a new life in our City, no matter what their cultural or religious background.

“As part of this Welcome Zone we also acknowledge the tremendous contribution that refugees and migrants have made to our City over the years,” Cr McLeish said.

Manningham Council in conjunction with the Communities’ Council on Ethnic Issues is hosting a free Refugee Welcome Celebration to acknowledge the launch of the Manningham Migrant and Refugee Welcome Zone and UN World Refugee Day on Friday 26 June.

The event’s key note speaker will be Thomas Albrecht, Regional Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canberra, who has geographical responsibility for 16 Pacific countries.

Mr Albrecht said global forced displacement has been rising steadily in recent years. 

“In 2013, more than 32,000 people were forced to flee from their homes every day – more than twice the daily figure only two years before.

“Many of today's fundamental challenges to human society can only be addressed if the international community truly leaves behind its differences and contradictions and seriously commits itself to working together,” Mr Albrecht said.

The following organisations will participate in the celebration and support the ongoing implementation of the Migrant and Refugee Welcome Zone in Manningham:

  • Victoria Police
  • Migrant Information Centre
  • Adult Migrant Education Service (AMES)
  • Swinburne University
  •  AFL players
  • The Manningham Interfaith Network
  • Manningham schools and sporting clubs.

A large number of people who are from refugee and migrant backgrounds will also be in attendance at the launch.

The Refugee Welcome Celebration will be hosted by comedian George Kapiniaris and include Burmese, Iranian and Kurdish music and dance, traditional crafts, henna painting and door prizes.

Community groups will also be invited to write and draw messages of welcome onto ‘Welcome Leaves’ which will then be placed onto ‘Welcome Trees’.

The trees and leaves have been made by migrants who are learning English at Swinburne University’s Croydon campus. The Welcome Trees will tour Manningham and its surrounds for the next 12 months and it is anticipated that they will turn into a forest of ‘welcomes’.

Following the launch event, the community will also have the opportunity to attend a Migrant and Refugee Human Library.

Participants will be able to borrow ‘human books’ from Doncaster Library for a 20 minute one on one conversation about the individuals migrant or refugee experiences.

Refugee Welcome Celebration

Date: Friday 26 June

Time: 10.00 am – 12.30 pm

Location: Manningham Civic Centre, 699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

Cost: Free

Migrant and Refugee Human Library

Date: Friday 26 June

Time: 12.30 pm – 4.00 pm

Location: Doncaster Library, MC Square, 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster

Cost: Free

For more information, call Doncaster Library on 9877 8500 or visit the Whitehorse Manningham Libraries website.

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