DFAT welcome message RAVN conference

It has been an exciting few months in the lead up to the inaugural Returned Australian Volunteer Network (RAVN) conference.

"Valuing Volunteers – Bridge Builders & Change Makers” will be held on the eve of International Volunteer Day on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December 2016 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.

We truly appreciate the contribution of returned volunteers, not only in supporting the international development agenda, but the work you continue to do on your return. We are inspired by the relationships you maintain with host organisations and communities, and the innovative ways you make sure your work is lasting. The Valuing Volunteers conference has been developed to acknowledge your contribution and offer you an opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge you may need in transitioning back to life in Australia and furthering your career in international development.  

I am also delighted to be able to promote the Host Organisation Revisited prize and encourage conference attendees to enter. This unique opportunity will provide one lucky returned volunteer a chance to travel back to their Host Organisation (HO) and secure a grant of $5,000for their HO to deliver a project or program. The winner will receive one return economy airfare, five nights’ accommodation and a grant of AUD $5,000 for your host organisation. Further details on how to enter can be found in this month’s eNewsletter.

With a dynamic line-up of thought provoking speakers, the Valuing Volunteers conference has been thoughtfully developed to cater to the needs of all returned volunteers. If you are a recently returned volunteer or if you have been back for several years or more, there will be something in it for you. The conference will reconnect you with fellow volunteers, challenge and inspire you and help you to discover new ways to utilise your volunteer experience.

This bumper edition of the RAVN e-Newsletter showcases a few of the speakers and experts who will be at the conference.

 If you haven’t already seen the list of keynote speakers they include:

  • Anh Do, acclaimed comedian, artist and author
  • Dr David Chong, world renowned Australian plastic surgeon who volunteers each year in developing countries operating on children for Operation Smile and the Mercy Ships
  • Samantha Gash, adventure athlete, lawyer, social entrepreneur and National Crusader for the League of Extraordinary Women;
  • Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, 2016 Young Australians of the Year and founders of Orange Sky Laundry
  • Marita Cheng, 2012 Young Australian of the Year and founder of Robogals Global.

If you would like to find out more about the conference or register to attend please visit the DFAT website

Please also share with your networks in case you know fellow returned volunteers who may not be on our mailing list.

I hope to see you at the conference in December.

Julie McCallum
Volunteers Section
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade