Dunedin refugee conference

Refugees, academics, service providers and members of the public will discuss the opportunities and challenges of refugee resettlement at a Dunedin conference next month.

The gathering will open with accounts about settling in New Zealand from former refugees Dr Najibullah Lafraie - also a former University of Otago politics lecturer - Govinda Regmi and Zeina Al Naasan.

They are from Afghanistan, Bhutan and Syria, respectively.

''Too often societies envision refugees as the other without recognising the common causes that link so many of us,'' Prof Angela McCarthy, of the university history and art history department, said.

The two-day ''Refuge in the City: Former Refugees in Urban New Zealand'' conference will be hosted by the Otago Centre for Global Migrations, and starts on November 6.

Prof McCarthy, who is also centre director, said the conference was timely given New Zealand was increasing its annual refugee intake quota from 2020.

Dunedin was also continuing as a formal centre of refugee resettlement.

Since 2016, the city had become home to about 500 former refugees, mainly from Syria and Palestine. It was now time to explore several ''critical issues'', including health and wellbeing, education, social support and social change, she said.

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