Education vital refugee pathway

21 June 2023
Three women and two men stand in a line in front of a window, they are smiling.
Roundtable participants including CQU Public Health academic Dr William Mude (second from left) and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles (centre)

CQUniversity Senior Lecturer in Public Health Dr William Mude is advocating to grow Australian higher education pathways for refugees, participating in a recent national roundtable to tackle the issue.

Co-hosted by the Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia, and the Refugee Education Special Interest Group, the event was held in Melbourne on 5 June 2023.

Dr Mude attended alongside high-level representatives from 30 Australian universities, and non-government organisations including the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency), the Refugee Council of Australia, and Welcoming Australia.

The Cairns-based academic shared his experience as a former World University Services of Canada scholar, and as an advocate for refugee education, and migrant community researcher.

This week (June 18 to June 24) is International Refugee Week, and its theme is Finding Freedom.

Dr Mude said initiatives like the roundtable allow Australian universities to contribute to an enduring transformation of refugee students’ lives.

“Education is a means of freedom, and universities have a role in helping refugees find freedom,” said Dr Mude.

“Welcoming refugees into higher education will achieve tangible social impacts, create new intercultural learning opportunities in our classrooms, and increase positive social impact globally.

“This is in line with CQUniversity’s goal of providing equitable access to education and for the University to make a lasting contribution to impactful outcomes in the lives of refugee students.” 

Dr Mude said he looks forward to seeing CQUniversity communities and students become involved in this important initiative in the future.

“There was a strong consensus among the attendees that refugee education migration pathways are what Australia needs to both create a new durable solution for people experiencing displacement because of forced migration, as well as contributing new opportunities for refugee students to access higher education,” he said.

“Universities that attended the meeting signalled a commitment to supporting refugee education, which is matched by an intention from the Federal Government to explore options through a co-design process.

“The attendees agreed that refugee education migration pathways must be a collaborative initiative across the sector, and with government and other civil society and community groups. 

“The enthusiasm from the 30 universities that attended is a testament to Australia’s commitment to finding more durable solutions to the humanitarian crisis, and recognises the role of education in developing new pathways.”

Dr Mude said he looked forward to seeing CQUniversity communities and students become involved in this important initiative in the future.