For the second year running, Settlement Services International (SSI) is the official community partner for TEDxSydney.
The SSI and TEDxSydney partnership involves a “Pay It Forward” initiative, whereby conference registrants can give community members from a wide range of SSI programs, including disability services, refugee resettlement, multicultural foster care, and startups, the opportunity to attend the conference for free.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said that the collaboration between the two organisations took a fresh approach in encouraging the broader community to get involved and support marginalised communities to attend a high-profile event.
“Through this wonderful partnership, we’re able to provide a seamless way for the wider community to give back to those people who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to attend a TEDxSydney conference,” Roumeliotis said.
“SSI appreciates the ongoing support and generosity of TEDxSydney and its members, who are empowering people to change their lives through direct exposure to myriad brilliant speakers and thought-provoking conversation.”
Entrepreneur and autism advocate Haydn Payne is part of the SSI cohort attending the conference.
“I often watch TED talks to spark new ideas for my own business. I’m stoked to have the opportunity to attend and see it live in action,” he said.
With the support of IgniteAbility Small Business Start-ups, a pilot program established by SSI to facilitate business creation for people with a disability, Payne is developing a podcast series for high functioning young adults on the autism spectrum.
“As someone growing up in a low socioeconomic environment, and during a time in the ’90s when many didn’t know what Asperger’s even was, I found myself facing many challenges,” he said.
“After many frustrations, I decided to do something more proactively and get involved in the autism community and advocate to raise awareness.”
Diversity and disability peer facilitator and mentor Pauline David is another community member attending the conference and part of the SSI cohort.
As someone from an Assyrian background who has lived with a physical disability from birth, David advocates for improved accessibility for herself and others.
“Through sharing my story, I hope to challenge perceptions, attitudes and stigmas to help improve community access for people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds,” David said.
“Attending the upcoming TEDxSydney conference will help inspire some new ideas for my advocacy work.
“I hope to connect with new networks and spread the word on diversity and inclusion in the wider community.”
TEDxSydney founder and licensee Remo Giuffré said the aim of TEDxSydney is to create a connected community.
“At the core of TEDxSydney, we, and it’s great to be able to collaborate with SSI and bring the two communities together,” Giuffré said.
The 2019 legacy-themed conference will be held on May 24 at the International Convention Centre Sydney.