top of page
Catalysing meaningful refugee participation: Next steps and ongoing challenges

Virtual, 16 November 2022, 9.00-10.00am AEDT

+ Add to my calendar:
The decade ahead.jpg

The 2018 Global Compact on Refugees recognised that 'responses are most effective when they actively and meaningfully engage those they are intended to protect and assist'. But what has been done since then to realise the meaningful participation of refugees in decision-making processes that affect them? How are governments, refugee-led organisations and others engaging with the legitimate claims of refugees to be heard in representative political processes? What does real progress look like?


Mustafa Alio

Co-Managing Director, R-SEAT

@AlioMustafa @Refugeesseat

Mustafa Alio is Co-Managing Director of R-SEAT (Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table). R-SEAT is an international project that aims to increase refugee inclusion at global policymaking tables within 20 countries across the world. In 2021, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) from the Office of the Governor General in Canada. Mustafa is the co-founder and former Managing Director of Jumpstart Refugee Talent, the organization that led initial conversations in 2017 with Canadian employers to contribute to creating the Economic Mobility Pathway Program in Canada among other achievements. During the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, Mustafa became the first-ever refugee advisor to a Canadian delegation to a meeting of the international refugee system. He worked closely with multiple government partners, refugee networks, UN bodies, international civil society actors and others to address gaps and improve programming that meet refugee needs. Mustafa has contributed a number of articles on refugee issues for international public audiences, including in the Independent, New York Times, Stanford Social Innovation, Forced Migration Review, and others.

Sana Ali Mustafa

Chief Executive Officer, Asylum Access


Sana Ali Mustafa is a movement leader in the forced displacement sector and a feminist human rights activist fighting against systems of oppression in Syria and around the world. Sana’s work has been informed by her experiences as a brown, queer, Arab, and forcibly displaced woman. After being forcibly displaced by the Assad regime, Sana led the establishment of global efforts for the representation and inclusion of forcibly displaced persons, such as the Global Refugee-led Network. Sana is currently Chief Executive Officer of Asylum Access, where she leads the organization’s work to dismantle decades of colonialism, fight for self-representation, and build intersectional coalitions to demand human rights for all forcibly displaced people.  

Prior to joining Asylum Access, Sana managed her own consulting business where she helped over a dozen public and private sector organizations such as Oxfam International, Open Society Foundations, United Nations, WeWork, and others to establish strategies to operate more equitably in support of refugee rights and refugee leadership.

Sana is also an active public speaker. She has delivered a TED talk and spoken at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the National Press Club in Washington, D.C, the Carnegie Endowment, the White House, Harvard Law School, Stanford, and numerous other venues.

Sana is a board member of Karam Foundation, which helps Syrian refugee youth in Turkey harness their ambition and creativity. Sana is also a member of Syria’s first Syrian Women’s Political Movement, a coalition with the aim of uniting women from across professional fields and ethnic lines to create a vision for women’s inclusion in a future Syria.

Najeeba Wazefadost

Executive Director, Asia Pacific Network of Refugees

@NajeebaWazefado @APNORefugees @GrnRefugees

Najeeba Wazefadost is a former refugee from Afghanistan who holds a Bachelor of Medical Science. She is Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees. She co-founded the Global Refugee-Led Network and is a founding member of GIRWL (Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders). Najeeba has been actively involved in the development of refugee-led networks at both the regional and global level, which focuses on bringing together refugee and migrant-led organizations and refugee change-makers from around the world to gather to discuss their lived experiences and propose solutions for more effective and sustainable refugee policy. She is an advocate, educator, public speaker, and researcher. Through all her work, she prioritises and amplifies the voices, experiences, and aspirations of those most directly impacted.

Fiona Whiteridge

General Manager, Refugee and Migrant Services, Immigration New Zealand

Fiona Whiteridge has been the General Manager for Refugee and Migrant Services for Immigration New Zealand for three years. In that role, Fiona is responsible for leading and managing New Zealand’s humanitarian international obligations and commitments to refugees and asylum seekers for New Zealand. Fiona has been a public servant for over 20 years and prior to working for Immigration New Zealand she worked for the New Zealand Treasury, Kainga Ora (Housing New Zealand) and the Office of the Auditor-General.

Chair: Tristan Harley

Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

@drtristanharley @KaldorCentre

Tristan Harley is dual-trained as a lawyer and historian, and is an Affiliate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. He has published widely in the fields of refugee and human rights law and policy, including as co-author of Refugees, Regionalism and Responsibility (Elgar, 2016) with Professor Penelope Mathew. He has also lectured at universities and worked as a consultant with organisations such as UNHCR, the World Refugee Council, the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, the Asia Pacific Network for Refugees, and Act for Peace. He holds a PhD and a Juris Doctor (First Class Honours) from UNSW Sydney, a Bachelor of Arts Advanced (First Class Honours in History) from the University of Sydney, and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Australian National University. He is also admitted as a lawyer of the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Image credit: UNHCR/Mark Henley

bottom of page