Humanitarian Paris Aristotle AO will receive an Honorary Doctorate at tomorrow’s RMIT University Graduation ceremony at Etihad Stadium, Docklands.
Aristotle will receive his Doctor of Social Science Honoris Causa in recognition of his passion for, and contribution to, specialist refugee services.
An advocate for the compassionate treatment of refugees for nearly 30 years, he has made a major contribution to the development of refugee resettlement policy and the development of settlement services.
RMIT University Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said Paris Aristotle – the Chief Executive Officer and founding CEO of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Incorporated – had negotiated and secured resources for the introduction of the Federal Government’s Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (PASTT).
“PASTT now funds a national network of specialist services to help survivors recover from their experiences and rebuild their lives in Australia,” Martin said.
“In 2012, then Prime Minister Julia Gillard appointed Paris to her Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, where he advised on how to address the complex issues of asylum seekers, people smuggling and preventing deaths at sea.
“In particular, he advocated for the development of a regional protection framework that would support refugees and asylum seekers in full compliance with human rights obligations and the decent treatment of all people within this system.
“This is an objective for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region that he continues to strive for to this day.
“Through his life’s work, Paris Aristotle has shown a passion for transforming the lives of others. RMIT is delighted to recognise his impact in shaping our communities – and our world – for the better.”
An alumnus of RMIT’s School of Global Urban and Social Studies, Aristotle graduated from the Phillip Institute with a Diploma of Youth Work in 1982. He continues to support the work of RMIT students, hosting numerous students each year at Foundation House for professional training.
Aristotle was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2002 and was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal the following year. Earlier this year, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He was also named the 2017 Victorian Australian of the Year.
Among his other notable contributions, Aristotle has continued his work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in the field of refugee resettlement and in advancing the rights of asylum seekers.
In 2002, he also played a leading role in the development and production of UNHCR’s Refugee Resettlement: An International Handbook to Guide Reception and Integration.
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