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Leadership and professional development speaker series

Leading the way to brighter futures: Migrant women in STEM

This webinar features an astrophysicist, a structural biologist, a mathematician, and a chemical scientist – all sharing their journeys as migrant women in pursuit of careers in STEM. The panellists reflect on the challenges they faced, their approaches to success, and helpful tips for other migrant women.


Dr. Devika Kamath


Dr. Hamideh Anjomshoa


Dr. Sidra Waheed


Dr. Yanni Chin


Breaking the Honours and Awards Ceiling : Recognising Contributions of Migrant and Refugee Women

This webinar highlights the gaps in representation of migrant and refugee women among the recipients of Australian honours and awards, and offers inspiration, insights, and encouragement to those wanting to nominate migrant/refugee women for the awards.


Tasneem Chopra OAM


Judge Rauf Soulio


Carla Wilshire OAM


Connecting with the self: Identity, belonging, and leadership

The first webinar in the series, Connecting with the self: Identity, belonging, and leadership, was recorded on 15 November 2019. The webinar features Bianca Elmir, Hana Assafiri, and Wesa Chau.


Bianca Elmir


Wesa Chau


Hana Assafiri OAM


Maria Osman


Empowering the self: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

The second webinar in the series, Empowering the self: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, was recorded on 5 March 2020. The webinar features Elizabeth Kachembere, Hawanatu Bangura, and Saman Uzma.


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Elizabeth Bokani Kachembere

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Hawanatu Bangura

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Saman Uzma

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Violet Roumeliotis


Migrant and Refugee Women’s Leadership in COVID-19 Health Response

The third webinar in the series, Migrant and Refugee Women’s Leadership in COVID-19 Health Response, was recorded on 21 September 2020. The webinar features Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, Dr Nadia Chaves, and Dr Arunaz Kumar.


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Dr Kudzai Kanhutu

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Dr Nadia Chaves

Image of Kumar

Dr Arunaz Kumar

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Carla Wilshire OAM


Financial Literacy and Women’s Economic Empowerment

The webinar focuses on migrant and refugee women’s financial literacy and economic empowerment, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. The webinar features Malini Raj,  Andrea Creado, Megan McAlpine, Manasi Wagh-Nikam and Amanda Lee.


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Malini Raj

Photo of Andrea Creado

Andrea Creado

Photo of Megan McAlpine

Megan McAlpine

Photo of Manasi Wagh-Nikam

Manasi Wagh-Nikam

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Headshot Nyadol

Nyadol Nyuon

Nyadol Nyuon is the Chair of Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change. She is a lawyer, community advocate, writer, and accomplished public speaker.

Nyadol was born in a refugee camp in Itang, Ethiopia, and raised in Kakuma Refugee camp, Kenya. In 2005, at the age of eighteen, she moved to Australia as a refugee. Since then, Nyadol has completed a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne. She now works as a commercial litigator with Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Nyadol Nyuon is a vocal advocate for human rights, migrant and refugee women, and the settlement of people with refugee experiences and those seeking asylum. She has worked and volunteered extensively in these areas with a range of organisations. Nyadol is also a regular media commentator on these issues, having appeared on ABC’s The Drum, as a panellist on Q&A and contributing to The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Saturday Paper, to name just a few.

In both 2011 and 2014, Nyadol was nominated as one of the one hundred most influential African Australians. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Future Justice Prize. In 2018, her efforts to combat racism were widely recognised, with achievements including the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Racism. It Stops With Me Award for her advocacy and activism on behalf of the Australian-African and Melbourne’s South Sudanese communities, and the Harmony Alliance Award for significant contribution to empowering migrant and refugee women. Nyadol was a co-winner of the Tim McCoy Prize for her advocacy on behalf of the South Sudanese community and received the Afro-Australian Student Organisation Unsung Hero Award.

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Jeanette Hourani

A refugee in her own country Lebanon, then a refugee in Germany until she migrated to Australia in 1988. Jeanette has passion to gender equity and advocacy. Established Voice of Arabic Women on Radio 3CR to address the issues of gender, power, domestic violence, women’s empowerment in the capacity of a volunteer. Worked at SBS radio as a paid journalist/broadcaster. Held various positions and coordinated various programs and projects including women’s health, family and children’s services and early childhood, training and education including Dianella Community Health, Royal Women’s Hospital and VICSEG New Futures. Worked with grassroots women as an advocate, support and mentor. Joined the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition (VIRWC) and held Chairperson positions and a Board member. Winner of Hume City Council’s 2007 Teacher’s Award.

Violet Roumeliotis

Violet Roumeliotis is a Harmony Alliance council member and the CEO of Settlement Services International, a NSW community‑based, not-for-profit organisation that provides support services for refugees, asylum seekers, people with disability, job seekers, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who require foster care. Violet has an extensive background in the leadership of large not‑for‑profit organisations and providing services to at‑risk communities. She has developed specialised knowledge and skills in working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, refugees, women and families in crisis, and prisoners.

Saman Uzma

Saman Uzma is the CEO and founder of Cubeight Solutions, A website development, SEO and graphic designing company providing digital solutions to small to medium size businesses. She is Masters in computer applications and working in the IT industry since 2009.  She also runs workshops and provides consultation on how Information technology can help professionals in achieving their goals and increasing profits. She has been involved in various community services programs including support to new migrants and refugees on improving their professional profile for getting their first jobs and achieving business objectives. Know more about her business here.

Hawanatu Bangura

Hawanatu Bangura is the founder of Mahawa Creative. She has a double degree in Social Work and Social Science and has been working in the Australian community sector providing support to disadvantaged individuals and groups for over seven years. Hawanatu is also an award-winning filmmaker who has been writing, directing and producing films for 10 years. Her films have been internationally recognised at various major film festivals. Mahawa Creative was sparked by her passion for integrating creativity with her social work to elevate the human experience. Mahawa Creative is a storytelling agency that helps organisations and individuals to craft meaningful narratives. They collaborate with local, corporate and government organisations to create emotionally compelling videos for positive social impact. They also offer workshops targeted towards a range of outcomes. These include facilitating creative self-expression, promoting individual wellbeing and strengthening group identity in positive ways. Learn more about her business here.

Elizabeth Bokani Kachembere

Elizabeth Bokani Kachembere migrated from Zimbabwe 20 years ago. She started her Naturopathic practice in 2012 part-time and went full time in 2013. Liz has been in the health industry for 26 years having started as a Pharmacy Technician in her native Zimbabwe then worked in retail and Veterinary Industry here in Australia. Liz did further studies to obtain a Bachelors’ in Naturopathy and a Diploma in Remedial Massage, currently pursuing post graduate studies in International Health. Her clinic is called Hutano Natural health Solutions; Hutano meaning “Have you thought about natural health options” or “wellness” in the Shona language. Elizabeth is passionate about women’s health and wellness and nutrition. One of her unique offerings with her weight loss programs is that she tries to prescribe food that is familiar to a client. Being a migrant herself she realizes one’s cuisine and culture are important for their well-being. Liz ‘s passion is to see more women looking after their health and going on to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Learn more about her business here.

Wesa Chau

Wesa Chau is the CEO of Cultural Intelligence and co-founder of Belonging From The Inside Out, an initiative to promote belonging through leadership programs and workshops, especially for people from a different cultural background. She has been a strong advocate for cultural diversity and gender diversity for two decades. Her work is recognised through a number of prestigious awards, including being an inductee of the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and is a finalist for the Agenda Settle of the Year Award in 2016.  She is also a member of the Multicultural Business Ministerial Council and Ministerial Council for Women’s Equality.

Hana Assafiri

Hana Assafiri OAM is a tireless advocate for women in the community, a spokesperson for Islamic feminism in Australia and as a long-time Melbourne icon, she is celebrated for both her generosity and success as a businesswoman. Hana has dedicated her professional and private life to removing barriers that prevent women from living prosperous lives. By opening
her first restaurant in 1998, the popular Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy–now an institution for many Victorians, Hana has provided employment opportunities for marginalised members of the community. In 2015, Hana was awarded TimeOut’s Legend Award for her flair for innovation and entrepreneurship. In March 2017 Hana was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, celebrating her contribution made to local communities and human rights. In 2019, Hana was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her services to women and the broader community.

Bianca Elmir

Bianca Elmir is a woman of Lebanese and Islamic heritage raised in Canberra. With a degree in international relations and community development, her experience spans various roles: from working on an HIV/AIDS prevention program in rural South Africa, to advising a Greens member of the ACT Assembly, to acting as a film stunt woman and being on reality TV. Defying gender stereotypes, she has won national and international titles in both boxing and kickboxing. By utilising boxing as an instrument to inspire and elevate self-esteem, Bianca facilitates women’s boxing clinics across Australia and the Pacific providing peer-mentoring program for marginalised young women. A feature length documentary about Bianca titled Bam Bam the Movie was released in 2018 and has been selected for various film festivals and awards nationally and internationally.

Anyier Yuol

Anyier Yuol is the chair of the Australian National Committee on Refugee Women (ANCORW).
Anyier was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and moved to Australia when she was ten years old. In 2015 she completed a Bachelor of Arts Major in Development Studies, Sociology and Anthropology at UNSW and is currently studying her Masters in International Development (Refugees and Displacement).

She is currently employed at Community Migrant Resource Centre (CMRC) as a Youth Transition Support Worker, where she works particularly with newly arrived refugee youth to connect them with education, sporting and employment opportunities, as well as to the local community.

Anyier Yuol currently divides her time between refugee community activism, youth leadership, mentoring, playing soccer and being a sports advocate, and modelling. She is determined to encourage, inspire and support her fellow women to find and exceed their potential within the modelling world and all other facets of their lives and those around them.

Anyier has extensive experience speaking and performing to large and diverse audiences. She is acknowledged and credited for leadership and motivational skills, as well as her drive, perseverance and capacity to engage a wide variety of groups and individuals.

Michal Morris

Ms Michal Morris is the CEO of inTouch Multicultural Centre against Family Violence, based in Melbourne, Victoria.

Michal has a deep commitment to social justice evidenced by a senior executive career across the government and third sector, driving access and equity in client centred care and evidence based service and program delivery.

Michal has 20 years’ experience working in the multicultural sector, as well as leading a range of health programs including mental health, suicide prevention and drug and alcohol.

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Carla Wilshire OAM

Ms Carla Wilshire represents Migration Council Australia – an ex-officio member of the Council.

Carla is the CEO of Migration Council Australia, the national research and policy institution on migration, settlement and social cohesion.

Carla has a background in policy development, corporate governance and tertiary research. She has worked as a public servant and as an advisor to Government, principally in the area of migration and resettlement, including as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

Carla is a member of the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity, which provides policy advice to the Council of Chief Justices of Australia on improving access to justice for culturally and linguistically diverse Australians.

Carla is also a member of the National Anti-Racism Partnership and co-founded the Friendly Nation Initiative, which aims to link corporate Australia with the settlement community to improve employment outcomes for refugees.

Eugenia Tsoulis OAM

Ms Eugenia Tsoulis has 40 years of work experience across a number of sectors focusing on multicultural policy research and review, leadership management, mental health, education, the arts, and employment and training.

Eugenia is the CEO of the Australian Migrant Resource Centre, and over the past 20 years, she has overseen its expanding work, ensuring a critical leadership position in South Australia’s social, cultural and economic development.

Previously, as the Director of the Migrant Workers’ Centre, her work furthered migrant women’s employment, training and participation. Eugenia has established programs that serve to empower migrant and refugee women and young people through the Stronger Families initiative that counters domestic violence and through women’s training and employment.

She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1994, ZONTA Woman of the Year Award in 2007, and the Governor’s Multicultural Award—Individual Achiever of the Year in 2012. Eugenia was a founding member of the Settlement Council of Australia, and has served on a considerable number of State and Commonwealth boards and advisory committees.

Eugenia received the inaugural Harmony Alliance Award in 2017, for lifetime contribution to empowering migrant and refugee women.

Tamara Stewart-Jones

Ms Tamara Stewart-Jones represents Multicultural Youth South Australia.

Tamara has 14 years of leadership and service delivery experience in the human services in both mainstream and multicultural contexts. She has extensive knowledge and experience in responding to a range of social issues and problems, having worked across service areas as diverse as settlement, health, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, crisis intervention and domestic violence.

Tamara has dual qualifications in primary health care and transpersonal counseling, as well as post‑graduate qualifications in Social Work.

She has worked in a teaching and research capacity at the University of South Australia for the past three years with her work focusing on new and emerging issues in both refugee and Indigenous communities.

Violet Roumeliotis

Ms Violet Roumeliotis represents Settlement Services International, a NSW community‑based, not-for-profit organisation that provides support services for refugees, asylum seekers, people with disability, job seekers, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who require foster care.

Violet has steered SSI through a major growth period, from a staff of less than 70 just four years ago, to over 500 in 2016. She was named in Pro Bono Australia’s 2014 and 2015 lists of the 25 most influential people working in the not-for-profit sector.

Violet has an extensive background in the leadership of large not‑for‑profit organisations and providing services to at‑risk communities. She has developed specialised knowledge and skills in working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, refugees, women and families in crisis, and prisoners.

Violet has a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology and History from UNSW, and a Masters in Management from UTS. She is also an accredited mediator.

Maria Osman

Maria Osman is a leader with over 30 years’ experience in gender equity, diversity and human rights as a senior government policy adviser, consultant, speaker, trainer and community activist.

As the former Executive Director of WA’s Office of Multicultural Interests and Office for Women’s Policy, she has led the development and implementation of cutting-edge policies and programs.

Maria has always combined her senior roles with grass roots advocacy with migrant and refugee women. She was appointed as Australia’s official delegate to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York and has served on numerous national, state and community boards.

She is currently the Chair of the Humanitarian Group, member of the Multicultural Advisory Group advising the WA Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, the WA Premiers Supporting Community Forum and the Ministerial Expert Panel and Voluntary and Assisted Dying and the Somali Womens Association.

Maria was awarded the WA Government Multicultural Community Service Award in 2007 and a National Living Legends Award, awarded to the 100 most influential African-Australians in 2012. Maria is of Somali heritage, is a mother and grandmother.

Sahar Okhovat

Ms Sahar Okhovat represents Refugee Council of Australia – an ex-officio member of the Council.

Sahar is a Senior Policy Officer with the Refugee Council of Australia, the national umbrella body for refugees, people seeking asylum and the organisations and individuals who support them. Her work involves research, policy and advocacy on issues impacting refugees and people seeking asylum.

Sahar previously worked with Australian Red Cross as a caseworker and a team leader in Migration Support Program and later on as a Humanitarian Observer, monitoring conditions of immigration detention centres. She holds a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney.

Juliana Nkrumah AM

Ms Juliana Nkrumah AM represents African Women Australia. Juliana is an advocate for women—specifically refugee women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and African women.

She founded African Women Australia as part of her quest to have African women gain a voice in Australian sociopolitical systems.

Juliana has served on several Boards to improve the status of women, including the Board of YWCA NSW, Australian National Committee on Refugee Women, Act For Peace, African Ministerial Committee, and the Eminent Australians Committee to review the Australian Citizenship Test.

Juliana’s past contributions included being the first women's representative of the African Communities’ Council NSW, initiating African Workers Network in Sydney, working as the first Community Education and Development Worker on FGM in Australia and advising in the development of the National Education Toolkit for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Awareness.

She managed the African Liaison Unit set up in Centrelink's Multicultural Services Unit in 2005-2006, and led two nationwide consultations into issues affecting refugees and migrants from African countries.

Juliana Nkrumah was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia for her work in the community, and was the winner of Woman of the West from University of Western Sydney in 2007.

Libby Lloyd AM

During her career Ms Libby Lloyd has been: President of UNIFEM/UN Women in Australia (2002-05); co-founder and board member of White Ribbon Foundation (2003-2013); Chair of Australia’s National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2008-09). Libby has worked internationally with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); in the Commonwealth Public Service and in the private and community sectors.

Libby is or has been CEO, chair or member of a range of government advisory boards, private and not-for-profit organisations and continues to hold a number of senior roles in the community sector. She is Patron of the indigo foundation and of the Gold Coast Centre against Sexual Violence.

In 1992 Libby’s work with the United Nations and for Australian communities overseas was recognised when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to refugees and to the international community in Iraq and Kuwait.

Maha Krayem Abdo

Ms Maha Krayem Abdo represents the United Muslim Women Association.

Maha has spent over three decades working together with the Muslim Women Association to help give Muslim women safety and assurance in difficult and trying circumstances.

Today she represents and gives voice to all women abroad as well as in Australia. She works at the local, national and international levels advising government on policy, services and strategies to create a harmonious community for future generations of Muslim and non-Muslim women.

In 2016 Maha was the NSW Seniors Week Ambassador as well as the BreastScreen NSW Ambassador. In 2015 Maha was a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal, and in 2014 she was the NSW Human Rights Ambassador for 2014-15.

Gail Ker OAM

Ms Gail Ker represents Access Community Services. Over the past 20 years,

Gail’s vast industry experience and arguably unrivalled expertise in the Australian multicultural, humanitarian and community sectors have seen her change countless lives for the better. A nationally lauded and award winning visionary, Gail leads nearly 300 staff at Access in pursuit of their organisational vision—to create social, cultural and economic experiences and opportunities that transform the lives of individuals and communities globally.

Renowned for her expertise in innovative service solutions for newly arrived migrants and humanitarian entrants, Gail is a recognised thought leader in needs-based community planning, innovative business models, and strategic partnerships. Gail’s knowledge is actively sought by policy makers, politicians, and industry leaders, both nationally and internationally.

She serves on a number of boards and committees, including the Settlement Services Advisory Council advising the Federal Minister for Social Services.

Gail’s standing has been recognised with a number of honours, including the 2010 Order of Australia Medal, and 2017 Australian Migration and Settlement Awards –Empowering Women Award.

Uieta Kaufusi

Ms Uieta Kaufusi represents Tongan Association of Canberra and Queanbeyan.

Ms Uieta Kaufusi is a proud Tongan woman based in Canberra and is the National Sector Engagement Manager for 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Counseling service.

Prior to joining the 1800RESPECT team in 2016, she led a breadth of initiatives on addressing domestic and family violence both in Australia and overseas. In her previous role as Learning and Development Manager at Lifeline Australia, Uieta managed the development and implementation of the DV‑Alert training suite—a nationally accredited and delivered domestic violence response training program for frontline workers. During her work with DV‑Alert, Uieta oversaw the development, implementation and evaluation of the General, Indigenous and Multicultural streams of DV-Alert, including the DV Awareness session and the Brothers Standing Tall: Aboriginal Men’s Program.

Uieta is married with 3 children and is a member of the ACT Government Multicultural Advisory Council, the White Ribbon Australia Indigenous Reference Group, and the Lifeline Aotearoa Pasifika Reference Group.

Carmel Guerra OAM

Ms Carmel Guerra represents Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network – an ex-officio member of the Council.

For over 30 years, Carmel has been a strong advocate for young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds in Victoria. Carmel has used her extensive experience to improve advocacy and support networks for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. As the CEO of the Centre for Multicultural Youth, she is at the forefront of innovative service delivery and policy development.

Carmel’s contribution and service to multicultural youth in Victoria has been recognised with a Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony in 2015 and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016. Carmel is the Chairperson of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN), the national peak body representing multicultural youth issues in Australia.

She also serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Youth Parole Board of Victoria, the Victorian Children’s Council, the Migration Council of Australia, and the Settlement Services Advisory Council advising the Federal Minister for Social Services.

Khadija Gbla

Ms Khadija Gbla is an individual member of the Harmony Alliance Council.

Khadija is a very passionate and inspired young African Australian woman. She is the Director of Khadija Gbla Cultural consultancy, which offers cultural awareness, intelligence training and facilitation to government agencies, not‑for‑profit organisations and individuals; advocacy and mentoring to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Khadija is also the Executive Director of No FGM Australia—a not‑for‑profit organisation, which works to protect Australian girls from FGM and to support survivors of FGM. She is an Ambassador for Our Watch and Director of Reacher’s Philanthropy - Committed to Women's and Girl's Self Empowerment.

Khadija is an award winning inspirational speaker, facilitator and consultant and has been recognised on a number of occasions, including most recently as 2017 Cosmopolitan Women of the Year finalist, 2016 Women's Weekly and Qantas Women of the Future finalist, and 2016 AusMumpreneur Rising Star and Making a Difference Award recipient.

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Sandra Wright

Sandra is the CEO of the Settlement Council of Australia, the peak body representing Australia's vibrant settlement services. SCoA's members include organisations, large and small, who are committed to the successful settlement of refugees and migrants across the country. Prior to joining SCoA, Sandra led law reform in the areas of sexual assault and family violence. She has also held leadership positions in settlement services, and a number of board and advisory council positions in the multicultural and women's sectors. Sandra is a qualified lawyer, and is currently pursuing a PhD on domestic and family violence in Australian Muslim communities.


Maria Dimopoulos (Chair)

Ms Maria Dimopoulos is the independent Chair of the Alliance Council and the Harmony Alliance.

Maria is a nationally and internationally recognised expert specialising in the intersections of cultural diversity, gender equality and the law. As Managing Director at Myriad International Consulting Services she has had extensive experience in policy formulation for Government, research for social planning and in community legal education.

Much of Maria’s work has been aimed at promoting and enhancing cultural diversity and gender informed approaches in the ongoing complex legal and political reform processes and in ensuring the meaningful inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives in those reform processes.

Maria continues to deliver judicial education programs across Australia and currently sits on a number of boards including the Coronial Council of Victoria, the Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity and the Castan Centre for Human Rights.