On 27 April 2022 the Australian HR Institute held their 10th annual D&I AHRI Conference showcasing leading practices in diversity and inclusion within Australia. They celebrated and articulated progress, and discussed and deciphered action to move along the path to greater inclusion. The AHRI Conference is not only for HR professionals but for thought leaders who want to be informed and inspired by the latest PROGRESS + ACTION for diversity and inclusion.
The Conference is always, in equal parts, an uplifting celebration of what is good in the world and a depressing reminder of how far we still have to go as a society, and Professor Munjed Al Muderis encapsulated both of these in his keynote speech at the conference. An asylum seeker and doctor from Iraq, having just watched his supervisor get shot in the head for refusing the same command, Munjed fled for his life when he refused to cut the ears off alleged army deserters when Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein.
His stories of his journey to Australia and to become a renowned orthopaedic surgeon captured the kindness and compassion humanity is capable of, as well as the cruel, callous and degrading actions of people from all walks of life, including Australian doctors and politicians. Munjed called on each and every one of us to put aside our differences of gender, ethnicity, religion and so forth and treat each other as human beings first, reminding us that attacking other people to make them weaker does not make us stronger.
By focusing on a nationalistic, even tribal, ideology gives permission for what was previously unacceptable to say or do to others, to become acceptable – like what we have seen with Donald Trump and even in Australia’s 2022 election campaign. Munjed closed by saying ‘I’m a proud Australian but I’m a proud human being first,’ a sentiment we should all share.
See Anh Do, a Vietnamese-born Australian artist, create a beautiful portrait of Professor Munjed Al Muderis. Watch this beautiful video showing how Anh rarely paints people smiling however Munjed’s positivity inspired him to paint him with a smile: https://fb.watch/dCdUql3VRm/.
Written by Lisa Stockwell.
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