International Volunteers ‘Return’ for Inaugural Conference
24 November 2016 at 11:37 am
Generations of Australian aid volunteers are set to converge on Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium in December for the inaugural Returned Australian Volunteer Network conference, hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
The Valuing Volunteers: Bridge Builders & Change Makers conference observes and celebrates the contribution of Australian volunteers who have participated in Australian Government international development programs in more than 40 countries since the 1950s.
Comedian and artist Anh Do, charity adventure athlete Samantha Gash, world-renowned Australian plastic surgeon Dr David Chong and social entrepreneur Elliot Costello are some of the headline names who will feature at the event.
The conference will have sessions on key development themes including disability inclusion, empowering women, social entrepreneurship and the role of the private sector in development.
Scope Global and AVI work with DFAT to deliver the flagship program, Australian Volunteers for International Development, and are supporting this conference for returned volunteers.
Scope Global CEO Christine Molitor said the conference would help volunteers build on their achievements.
“We know that being part of the program has had a significant impact on the lives of many of our volunteers, and the conference will provide further inspiration and opportunities for their personal growth,” Molitor said.
“The voices and perspectives of volunteers are crucial to ensuring that volunteering realises its potential, so I look forward to hearing many of them in December.”
AVI CEO Paul Bird said the conference provided a unique opportunity for returned volunteers to come together and share experiences.
“The conference provides a really exciting opportunity for returned volunteers to connect and participate in a number of discussions about their experiences, international development, and the professional and personal outcomes of volunteering,” Bird said.
“There are a number of cross-cutting themes, such as disability inclusion and gender, and we’ll also be exploring the role of international volunteers in achieving the sustainable development goals.”
On the sidelines of the conference will be poster presentations from a group of 16 Innovation Fellows – volunteers who have returned from their assignments and launched development initiatives, including Big Bang Ballers, Climates, Srey Sanctuary Cambodia and Hitnet.
A group of returned volunteers will also be presenting a live project pitch, judged by conference attendees, for the chance to travel back to their assignment country and deliver a financial grant to their former host organisation to undertake the project.
The Valuing Volunteers – Bridge Builders & Change Makers conference will be held on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December 2016 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Click here to find out more and register.