Supporting Refugee Students in Tertiary Education: A Conversation

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A conversation about gaps of inclusion in universities, and blocks and pathways to tertiary education for students with a refugee background

This panel will consider gaps of inclusion in universities and blocks and pathways to tertiary education for current and prospective students with a refugee background. This event also features musician Sayeed Zaman Ibrahim, who will play the Hazaragi Dambora.

Panel discussants include:

Dr Karen Dunwoodie (Deakin University), Director at Deakin CREATE. She has worked, volunteered, researched and advocated in the refugee sector in Australia for the past 12 years and her research interests include progressing the field of refugee resettlement, principally focussing on career development and the impact access to tertiary education and training may have on the lives on refugees and people seeking asylum. Karen’s research interests extend to investigating why some employers may or may not be actively including people with a refugee background, as part of their employment diversity and inclusion strategies.

Ms Lana Formoso, Deputy Mayor of Dandenong City Council and a Dandenong High School teacher. She is a dedicated community leader for her community specially newly arrived migrants and refugees in Southeast Melbourne. She is an SES volunteer and ambassador for MyRoom Children’s Cancer Charity and is involved in various other committees and community organisations including Family Violence Advisory Committee, Australian Local Government Women’s Association. Lana is completing her Master of Public Policy at Monash University.

Dr Claire Loughnan (University of Melbourne), Lecturer in Criminology. Claire has published widely on the effects of Australia’s harsh border control policies. She is a committee member of the Carceral Geography Working Group, a co-convenor of the University of Melbourne branch of Academics for Refugees, and a research partner with the Comparative Network on the Externalization of Refugee Policies. In her capacity as co-convenor of Academics for Refugees (University of Melbourne branch) she has advocated for more inclusive policies at University-level to support students with a refugee background.

Dr Ali Reza Yunespour (University of Melbourne), Academic Internships Coordinator in the School of Social and Political Sciences. He holds a PhD in International and Political Studies and his research interests are education in fragile contexts, resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, and work-integrated learning in tertiary institutions. He serves on the Board of Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) that advocate for community’s support for resettlement of more refugees in Australia. Previously, he was a member of the Advisory Panel on the Resettlement of Afghan Nationals for the Department of Home Affairs and co-convenor of Academics for Refugees branch at Melbourne University. Ali Reza arrived as refugee in 2005 and completed his high school and tertiary education in Australia.

Miss Sana Gulistani (University of Melbourne) is a second year Arts Student.

Registration is required. Food will be provided.

Enquiries: Ali Reza Yunespour ( or Liz Dean (

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Linkway Meeting Room, Level 4, John Medley Building
University of Melbourne
Parkville, VIC 3010 Australia
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