Australia’s Story of Welcome

This profile highlights the early years of the Welcoming Cities initiative, run by Welcoming Australia. The events and activities described took place between 2015-2020.


Australia was the first country to partner with Welcoming America, and together they forged a path to establish Welcoming International. Welcoming Cities is an initiative of Welcoming Australia, supported by the Scanlon Foundation. They work on shifting attitudes towards newcomers at the organizational level, this includes supporting regional communities to better identify and understand the process of welcoming people to their communities.

“We shift the dial on what councils see themselves responsible for, showcasing that support for those who help new migrants is actually a very important service that a council can, and should, provide. We also show that it doesn’t have to be extra work, unless they want to go through benchmarking and accreditation. We demonstrate that a lot of work is already being done in some way, and encourage people to join in to share their knowledge and ideas as part of the national network.

Sebastian Geers – Manager, Welcoming Cities
Bel Schenk – Coordinatior (Victoria), Welcoming Cities

“Many of our mentors are migrants themselves, and they often say, “We wish we had had a program like the Kaleidoscope when we arrived – it would have made such a difference for us.” It is a powerful program that is a win-win for newcomers and Western Australian communities: we are able to employ people to their full potential, and they are able to offer their skills, knowledge, and creativity to the local economy.”

Ashleigh Brand – Project Leader of the Kaleidoscope Initiative for the City of Stirling

Not having a job felt like there was part of me that had died. I felt frustrated, disappointed and useless to society and to myself. Finding a job in my own profession felt like being born again! It’s a new life for me.”

Mehrnoosh Alemi – Senior Process Engineer

Kaleidescope Initiative

The Kaleidoscope Initiative is led by the City of Stirling in Western Australia, and is designed to create partnerships between the local council, the local business community, and newcomer (migrant and refugee) communities. It identifies strategic opportunities for economic and community development, and encourages local businesses to understand, and engage with, the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce by employing newcomers.

The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, the second phase of the Kaleidoscope Initiative, is developed and delivered in partnership with the City of Canning and the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre. It matches newcomer job seekers to mentors who work in their industry. Over a threemonth program (for a minimum of 24 hours), they work together through advisory meetings and job shadowing, and mentors also share their professional networks.


Additional resources

Stories of


Guidelines for
Regional Growth

Steps to Settlement

The Kaleidoscope

Welcoming Cities
Resource Library

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