Event Review: La Trobe University — Wodonga Senior Secondary College Refugee Workshop

BY BEN HABIB.

On Friday 11th May 2012, year 10 students from Wodonga Senior Secondary College participated in workshops at La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus and excursions to the Bonegilla Migrant Experience as a component of thier studies into refugees and asylum seekers.  The introductory remarks of the expert panelists and the panel discussion itself are available here for download.

WSSC students posed many excellent questions to the panel, covering topics including the reasons why refugees flee their home countries, global migration patterns and the history of migration to Australia, the many cultural, linguistic and practical challenges faced by new migrants to Australia, and mainstream Australian attitudes to migration and multiculturalism.

Download Audio

Introductory Speeches: Dr Pamela Wallace, Prof Bruce Pennay, Dr Penny Egan-Vine, Marita Quaglio & Chura Sapkota (mp3)

Discussion with Expert Panel: Prof Bruce Pennay, Dr Penny Egan-Vine, Marita Quaglio & Chura Sapkota (mp3)

The excursions to Bonegilla and the workshops at LTU had several aims: (1) to help students to form reasoned opinions on refugee issues, based on systematic research from credible information sources; (2) to assist students in forming an understanding of the causes of forced migration; and (3) to prompt students to evaluate different views on Australia’s refugee program and the impact of multiculturalism on Australian society.

In addition, this collaboration provided a number of professional development benefits: (1) to instil in both WSSC and LTU students an enjoyment of learning and pride in being intelligent; (2) provide an opporunity for WSSC students to the sample the university experience and see university study as a meaningful career pathway after high school; and (3) give LTU Bachelor of Arts students valuable hands-on experience in group leadership and facilitation.

My heartfelt appreciation is extended to the members of the expert panel—Prof Bruce Pennay OAM, Dr Penny Egan-Vine OAM, Marita Quaglio and Chura Sapkota for their thought-provoking contributions during the workshops.  A big thank you also goes out to Simon Webb and his attending colleagues from Wodonga Senior Secondary College, as well as the WSSC students themselves, along with Dr Pamela Wallace and the La Trobe University Bachelor of Arts students, who collectively made the day a success.  Thank you also to the Border Mail for covering this event.

Media Coverage and Further Information

Howard Jones, ‘Refugee inspires students with story‘, Border Mail, Monday 14th May, 2012, p. 6.

LTU-WSSC Year 10 Workshop: Migration and Refugees Reference Page, Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.

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Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga. Ben is an internationally published researcher with interests including North Korea’s motivations for nuclear proliferation, East Asian security, international politics of climate change, and undergraduate teaching pedagogy. He also teaches in Australian politics and the international relations of the Middle East.  Ben undertook his PhD candidature at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and has worked previously for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  He has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China, and has also studied at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.  Ben is involved with local community groups Wodonga and Albury Toward Climate Health (WATCH) and Transition Albury-Wodonga.

Ben welcomes constructive feedback.  Please comment below, or contact Ben at b.habib@latrobe.edu.au.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.

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