About The Ball

The annual STARTTS Refugee Ball has established itself over the past twelve years as a key event in the social calendar of the multicultural and community services sector in Australia, every year raising vital funds for and awareness of the work that STARTTS does to assist people who have survived torture and trauma.

We invite you to join us to celebrate the 12th Refugee Ball and Fundraiser as it transforms into a virtual event, streamed online for a memorable evening of engaging speakers, fundraising, and an energetic mix of world-class live music and cultural performance as we safely come together to help heal refugee trauma and promote respect for human rights.

Following the cancellation of this year’s Refugee Ball due to Covid-19, we invite you to join us for our first-ever live-streamed virtual event on Thursday 26 November from 7:30 – 9:00pm AEDT. Media personality Chris North will return as our host along with special guests, Mr Chin Tan, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission will deliver this year’s keynote address. 2020 NSW Humanitarian Award winner, Naz Sharifi, and a youth representative belonging to the NSW Hazara community will share her personal story, along with line up of world-renowned performing artists: Shellie Morris, Lior and Aloe Blacc.

Guest Speakers

Chin Tan
Chin Tan commenced his term as Race Discrimination Commissioner on October 8, 2018. Prior to joining the Commission, Chin spent three years as the Director for Multicultural Engagement at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. Chin’s focus at Swinburne University as the head of its cultural diversity strategy was to work collaboratively across the University and the wider community to ensure that Swinburne succeeded as an institution of cultural diversity excellence. His leadership role resulted in Swinburne on 23 November 2017 being conferred a High Commendation award by the Victorian Government under the Victorian Multicultural Excellence Awards 2017 – Business category. Chin was the Chairperson and Statutory Head of the Victorian Multicultural Commission from 2011 to 2015. The Commission is an independent statutory authority with responsibilities to support and promote the benefits of Victoria’s cultural diversity.
Previously, he enjoyed a successful career of more than twenty-four years as a practising lawyer that included partner roles at a number of Melbourne firms. He was until recently a member of La Trobe University’s Asia Advisory Board and has had either led or been a member of many other community organisations.

Naz Sharifi
Naz Sharifi is a young Hazara woman currently studying a Bachelor of International Relations and Law. She is deeply passionate about advocacy for children and refugees, especially migrant and refugee children impacted by the lack of stability and long-term displacement. Naz volunteers at Kateb Hazara Association, giving talks of political advocacy and participation, youth involvement importance of positive representation. Having recently joining the Youth Ambassadors Program at MYAN NSW where she initiated a youth-led space for young people to grieve, express their frustrations and find solidarity after the attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her approach to influencing her community is youth-led having encouraged youth involvement in fundraising efforts in the bushfire crisis. Observing intergenerational differences within her community, Naz works hard to be an active listener and youth advocate amongst her elders. With her strong critical thinking skills, Naz advocates for accurate representation of refugee communities. Naz was awarded the 2020 NSW Humanitarian Award for Youth category.

Performing Artists

Shellie Morris
Proud Yanyuwa and Wardaman woman Shellie Morris is a multi-award-winning singer/songwriter creating and singing in around 17 Australian Aboriginal languages. While she has been in the spotlight over the years for involvement with Black Arm Band, ARIA nominations, Music Australia award and G.R. Burarrawanga Memorial Award; by and large, she works on the ground empowering and gently effecting change. She is the 2014 NT Australian of the Year, the 2014 NAIDOC National Artist of the Year, a multi Deadly Award winner and a driving force of the acclaimed album Ngambala Wiji li-Wunungu and the internationally award-winning musical documentary Prison Songs. Shellie uses music as a healing and sharing experience, and her most recent album, ‘Together We Are Strong,’ is the first by an Indigenous contemporary female to be sung entirely in the Indigenous languages of the Gulf Country. Shellie was the 2014 NT Australian of the Year and NAIDOC Artist of the Year.

Aloe Blacc
With “Wake Me Up”—the mega-hit Aloe Blacc sang and co-wrote for Swedish DJ Avicii and saw climb to #1 in over 100 countries across the globe— the Grammy nominated singer/songwriter proved he has an irresistible power to capture the complexities of human emotion. Blacc’s third solo album Lift Your Spirit (XIX Recordings/Interscope Records), pushed further into a folk/soul/pop fusion that’s both undeniably joyful and eye-opening in message. Adding an of-the-moment twist to the music of legends like Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, Lift Your Spirit was built on songs that pair Blacc’s poetic yet incisive lyrics with huge hooks and relentless feel-good grooves. With “Wake Me Up” having sold more than close to 5 million copies in the U.S. and streamed half a billion plays, Blacc notes that one of his main ambitions is to use his popularity to affect social change while continuing to infuse his music with a mindful positivity.

Lior burst onto the Australian music scene in 2005 with his debut album – ‘Autumn Flow’ which achieved Platinum status and went on to become one of the most successful independent debuts in Australian music history. A swag of accolades followed, Following the success of ‘Autumn Flow’ and led by the demand for his live performances, Lior released several albums, most recently ‘Between You and Me’ (2018). Lior has toured extensively both in Australia and internationally and has been a regular performer at WOMAD and art festivals around the world. In 2013, Lior collaborated with renowned composer Nigel Westlake in writing a song cycle for voice and orchestra titled ‘Compassion’ consisting of original melodies and orchestration set to ancient Hebrew and Arabic texts centred on the idea of compassion. Commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Lior and Nigel went on to win the ARIA for ‘Best Classical Album’ in 2014. In 2016, Lior wrote his first theatre score for the play – ‘The Wider Earth’ and in 2019, he was awarded the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship for ‘outstanding talent and exceptional courage’, one of only nine artists nationally across all art-forms to receive the award. He is currently writing a new album.

The Cause

The Refugee Ball has become established as one of the most culturally diverse gala events in our wonderful city of Sydney, each year raising vital funds for essential projects that assist torture and trauma survivors. Proceeds from a fundraising drive on the evening will go towards a local STARTTS led South Sudanese Youth Ambassador Program, a local program that has been incredibly innovative in promoting positive mental health and suicide prevention among South Sudanese young people, and the International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture (IRCT).


The Refugee Ball is Proudly presented in partnership with Friends of STARTTS
Friends of STARTTS (FOS) is an Australian registered charity that supports the work of STARTTS (Services for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) and refugee transition programs.