SSI Speaker Series: 'When Disability and Cultural Diversity Meet: The role of community in driving inclusion' Event Banner


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SSI Speaker Series: 'When Disability and Cultural Diversity Meet: The role of community in driving inclusion'

Date and Time

Wed 13th Feb 2019, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


TripAdvisor HQ
Level 5, 219 Cleveland Street, Redfern NSW 2016

Event description

SSI Speaker Series

When Disability and Cultural Diversity Meet: The role of community in driving inclusion


SSI is excited to confirm that our Speaker Series, which will take an in depth look at the intersectionality of Disability and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities has been rescheduled for Wednesday 13 February. The original location of TripAdvisor HQ and program of panellists remain the same. 


When: Wednesday 13 February, 5.00pm - 7:30pm 

Where: TripAdvisor HQ – Level 5, 219 Cleveland Street, Redfern NSW 2016

Multicultural canapes and refreshments will be served from 5.00pm

This rescheduled Speakers Series will also feature the launch of a policy paper 'Still Outside the Tent; Cultural diversity and disability in a time of reform' which has been developed by SSI. The paper examines the goals and vision of the National Disability Strategy with a particular focus on barriers and enablers for people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

With the aim of informing, connecting and challenging, this Speaker Series will explore questions such as:

•    What role can community and community based organisations play in driving inclusion?
•    How can businesses work to remove systemic barriers around employing and providing services to people with disabilities?
•    What is unique for a person living with a disability who is also from a culturally diverse background?

To address these issues, we have assembled a panel of speakers who offer diversity in experience, passion and thought:

Nas Campanella (Host)

Journalist and Newsreader, Triple J

Nas Campanella is a journalist and newsreader with the ABC and Triple J. Nas is totally blind and has a neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth which means she can’t read Braille. After completing a Communications degree at the University of Technology Sydney, majoring in journalism she started with the ABC as a cadet. She moved to the broadcaster’s Bega newsroom on the New South Wales far south coast to work as a regional reporter before returning to Sydney in 2013 for a news reading position at Triple J. In taking on this role, Nas became the first blind newsreader in the world to read and operate the studio for herself live to air.

Nas travels the world to speak at events, helping to motivate students, teachers, parents and industry on issues ranging from inclusive education, adaptive technology, accessible travel and the importance of empowerment and leadership for women. In 2016 Nas was part of a Disability Empowerment Skills Exchange in Fiji where she worked in a media communications and advocacy role with the Spinal Injury Association in Suva. Nas devised a social media strategy for the organisation, assisted in the design and launch of a disability awareness training program for the United Nations and ran workshops in public speaking, press release writing and interview skills. Nas is a published travel writer, mentor and sits on the Board of Directors at international NGO Motivation Australia. 

Dr. Karen Soldatic

ARC DECRA, Senior Research Fellow

Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney

Karen Soldatic's research foci is on international trends in disability policy and practice, and the impact of these global trends on the everyday lives of persons living with disability.  Karen has worked internationally in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the area of disability inclusion, education and development since 1994. Karen has been on the Board of the West Australian Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre (EDAC) and has worked extensively with Kimberley Disability Advocacy.  She is now a Senior Researcher at the University of Western Sydney.

Wally Mehanna

CEO, Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce 

Wally Mehanna is the CEO of the Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), an active member of the Canterbury Bankstown community and a firm believer in the business case for inclusion. Wally has over 20 year experience in business development and management across a number of industries, he is also a member of the Canterbury/Bankstown Business Leaders reference group and a passionate supporter of community led activities which improve the lives of vulnerable members of the community.

Wally has led the CBCC to provide training and networking opportunities for its members such as Women in Leadership, Innovation and manufacturing industry, Digital Marketing Success and The POWER of Networking in Western Sydney. Wally has also supported initiatives aimed to promote inclusion and wellbeing in his local community, initiatives such as, the Zero Barriers project, Outdoor Wellness Community Sessions, Canterbury Bankstown Community sleep-out and the community led Canterbury Bankstown’s International Day of People with Disabilities Gala night. 

Yasmin Farhart

Master of Ceremonies, MCYF 

Yasmin Farhart is a 31 year old woman with Disabilities.

She has has her own business called MCYF, which stands for Master of Ceremonies - Yasmin Farhart. Yasmin is an event MC, and has hosted at local previous events including SSI DiverseAbility 2018 Conference and the SSI RESP Community Forum.

She is involved in the Canterbury Bankstown Council as a part of a number of community groups such including the IDPWD committee, Universal Access Reference Group, Bankstown Recovery and Support network, Zero Barriers Committee, and SSI FutureAbility National Multilingual Advisory Group. 


It’s her passion to help people living with disabilities from all cultural backgrounds to become more inclusive in the community, and to achieve their goals in life.

Ghassan Noujaim

Senior Operations Manager, Multicultural Child & Family SupportProgram, Settlement Services International (SSI)  

Ghassan is the Operations Manager for the Settlement Services International (SSI) foster care service. He has extensive experience in community development, training, education, child protection and out-of-home care, having worked with FACS and non-government organisations. His expertise in assessing and matching children to carers reflects his understanding and responsiveness to actively facilitating children and young people to maintain connection to their culture and heritage. 


Ghassan was instrumental in establishing SSI's multicultural foster care program and has had oversight of the program’s responsiveness to over 160 children and young people since 2013. Ghassan supervises four foster care teams working across three FACS districts including SES and Sydney.

Please join us for canapes and refreshments from 5.00pm

The session will start at 5.30pm sharp

Please click the link below for information on venue accessibility

Please note that this session will be filmed and photographed for promotional and archival purposes. If you wish to not be filmed or photographed, please let our photographer know.





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Date and Time

Wed 13th Feb 2019, 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


TripAdvisor HQ
Level 5, 219 Cleveland Street, Redfern NSW 2016

Event organiser