Lifestyle

United Nations in the classroom

A Romanian United Nations delegate chats with resettled refugees in Coffs Harbour.
A Romanian United Nations delegate chats with resettled refugees in Coffs Harbour. Rob Wright

IT'S not every day a United Nations delegation walks into a TAFE English class to talk to a group of students.  

But then again Coffs Harbour is no ordinary example when it comes to refugee resettlement.

A group of African and Asian refugee students, studying English at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus, sat down and chatted with Australian Immigration officials and members of a Romanian UN delegation.  

The focus of the meeting was to highlight regional Australia's development in refugee resettlement and how a similar model could be adopted in Eastern Europe.

Coffs Harbour Adult Migrant English Program Zachary Edwards said it was a highlight to have such high profile diplomats sitting in on the typical classroom session.

"The students have been excited to have a United Nations delegation from Romanian sitting in on our English class, it's a great experience and it's an opportunity for the students to tell their stories of how they came to settle in Coffs Harbour," Mr Edwards said.

The UN delegation visited Coffs Harbour after attending the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR) Working Group on Resettlement (WGR) meeting in Melbourne. 

Australian immigration official Glen Ewers said the visit allowed the Romanian entourage to view the refugee resettlement model working here in Coffs Harbour.

"The delegation is able to apply the resettlement programs that exists in Melbourne to their own capital Bucharest, a city of two million people, yet outside of the metropolitan cities in Romania majority of the country is rural and regional, so it's important they see first-hand Australia's regional programs and approaches to resettlement," Mr Ewers said.

"The working group aims to help and support countries wishing to increase their refugee resettlement programs.  

A similar Argentinian delegation is also touring regional NSW this week.

Topics:  department of immigration, tafe nsw, united nations delegation


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