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OUTSIDERS? Refugees in Australian Society: A common humanity!

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This unit provides opportunities to explore the ideas that:

  • people are precious and unique
  • people come from different nations with different ethnicity, cultures, beliefs and languages
  • despite differences in our lives we are all essentially the same
  • all humanity is connected and it is this interconnectedness that is our common humanity
  • people have a responsibility to each other that flows from this connection and this responsibility includes caring for the vulnerable people among us
  • refugees in Australia are vulnerable people who face many challenges settling into Australian society
  • people experience adversity and set-backs in life but having a belief in a good outcome, having hope and being resilient and resourceful, sustains and encourages us in our endeavours.

Being a refugee is not a choice: Carina Hoang at TEDxPerth

Refugees are often marginalised, their humanity ignored as their stories go untold. In this remarkable and emotional talk, however, author and former refugee Carina Hoang discusses her experience as a "boat person". It's a powerful account that is impossible to ignore.

Carina's book, Boat People: Personal Stories from the Vietnamese Exodus 1975--1996, received a silver medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards (USA) and she was inducted into WA's inaugural women's Hall of Fame in 2011. In June 2012, she was appointed Special Representative to the UN Refugee Agency's Australian charity.

SOURCE: TEDex Talks (2014), posted on YouTube, [15:48 mins] URL:

Vocabulary and Definitions

Refugeea person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign country, in time of war, persecution, or disaster.

Asylum:refuge; shelter. Asylum is sometimes given by one nation to persons of another nation who are in fear of their life.

Migrant: a person, animal, bird, or plant that migrates.

Boat people: refugees who emigrate in small boats for any country that will let them in.

Content Descriptors:

Literature: How texts reflect the context of culture & situation in which they are created.

Interpret and compare how representations of people and culture in literary texts are drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts. (ACELT 1633)

Literacy: Texts and the context in which they are used.

Analyse how the construction and itnerpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts. (ACELY 1739)