The Rohingya are one of the largest stateless populations in the world, and face a chronic lack of integration, security and inclusion in the societies they are located in. With international institutions and nation-states, including Australia, not protecting their minority groups, the global community needs to urgently recognise and address this widespread failing.

World-renowned refugee activists and authors will address this seminar, which will explore the role of academic-activist organisations in championing democracy and justice for minority communities caught up in armed conflict, displacement and citizenship loss and focus on decolonising our geopolitical understandings of security.

The activist academic panel will discuss how national and international systems for protection can work collaboratively to prevent the blatant human rights abuses suffered by minority communities. It is time we listened deeply to distressed communities and their activists, and engaged in collaborative research leading to transformative change in society.

Keynote speaker

Dr Maung Zarni

Exiled in the UK, Dr Zarni is a Burmese scholar, writer, organiser, and revolutionary with more than three decades of experience in international politics and activism.
He co-founded and led the Free Burma Coalition (1995-2004), the Free Rohingya Coalition (2018) and Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia (2018).
Dr Zarni has co-authored three books and academic papers on the militarised state, the human rights crisis and the slow-burning genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas. In 2015, he was awarded the Cultivation of Harmony Award by the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the world’s oldest interfaith organisation.
Dr Zarni is a member of the board of advisors of Genocide Watch, co-produced the educational film Auschwitz: Lessons Never Learned (2020) and served as a leading expert in EXILED: A film by Shahida Tulaganov (2017), a historical documentary about the Rohingya genocide.



Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization (ABRO)

Habiburahman (“Habib”) is the founder and spokesperson of the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organization (ABRO). His autobiography First, They Erased Our Name: A Rohingya Speaks, was released in 2018. Habib will discuss his book and the current experience of his stateless people.

Behrouz Boochani

Mr Boochani is an award-winning Kurdish-Iranian writer and former refugee. He spent more than six years imprisoned on Manus Island. His first book, No Friend but the Mountains, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Nonfiction in January 2019.
Mr Boochani will discuss his second book Freedom, Only Freedom: The Prison Writings of Behrouz Boochani, and focus on human security, multiplicity of states within the state, why the refugee perspective is important for liberal democracy, and the rise of geopolitical insecurities.

Ahmad Saleem Saha

Ahmad Saleem Saha has more than 15 years of work experience in the development sector in Afghanistan, with the Afghan government, and UN funded projects and programs.
Drawing on his lived experience and perspective on the root cause of ethnic divisions in Afghanistan, Mr Saha will discuss the current experience of the Hazara community, a Shia Muslim minority, and how they have been resisting or coping/ negotiating with these problems, and the gendered aspects of the ethnic minority conflicts

Prof Asad Islam

Director of Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability (CDES), Monash Business School

Prof Islam is the Director of CDES and a Professor of Economics. He is a Chief Investigator for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEVAW).
He is also an affiliated Professor at Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Prof Islam has been working with BRAC in Bangladesh to develop evidence-based programs to help Rohingya refugees, particularly targeting women and children.

Prof Helen De Cieri

Department of Management, Monash Business School

Professor Helen De Cieri is the Director of Research in the Department of Management at Monash Business School. Helen’s current research is mainly focused on workers’ experiences of work-related violence and bullying. In addition to her academic activities, Helen has contributed to gender equality initiatives, for which she received the Monash Vice-Chancellor’s Award for social inclusion.

Host and Moderator

Dr Fahreen Alamgir

Department of Management, Monash Business School

Dr Alamgir is a Senior Lecturer. Her research interests include inequality, violence and equity focusing on a feminised workforce, refugees and the stateless people.


A/Prof Jagjit Plahe

Department of Management, Monash Business School

Jagjit Plahe is an Associate Professor of International Political Economy, Department of Management Her research interests include global governance, trade justice, and the management and organisation of equitable and sustainable food systems in Asia.


Please note this event is taking place in-person in Melbourne, Australia and also online via Zoom. Please ensure you select the correct type of registration for your attendance.

Date: 31 August 2023 at 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Venue: H921, Level 9 Building H, Monash University Caulfield campus


Posted by FORSEA