More than 600 guests attended this year’s MercyCare Oration, held at the Hyatt Regency Perth on September 22.
The audience was captivated by the incredible life story of orator Munjed Al Muderis, the pioneering surgeon who came to Australia as an asylum seeker.
Munjed recounted his life story, describing his experiences as a one-time refugee turned orthopedic surgeon, author, and human rights activist.
As a first-year resident doctor in Iraq, Munjed was forced to flee his homeland after he rejected Saddam Hussein’s brutal orders to amputate the ears of Iraqi army deserters.
After surviving a harrowing boat trip, Munjed arrived in Australia and was sent to Curtin Immigration Detention Centre where he spent 10 long months before finally being granted a visa to stay.
Driven by his selfless mission to change the lives of amputees, Munjed continued his career in medicine to become a world leader in osseointegration surgery – a ground breaking technique that has enabled amputees, including soldiers wounded in war zones, the ability to walk again.
MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chris Hall said Munjed had been invited to present this year’s Oration because his poignant personal story and advocacy work closely aligned with MercyCare’s support for refugees and asylum seekers.
“The Oration is designed to raise awareness, educate, inspire and change people’s perceptions of an issue through the telling of one person’s story,” Mr Hall said.
“We hope that Munjed’s experiences resonated deeply with the wider community, and promoted a better understanding about why people seek asylum and the challenges they face when they arrive in Australia.”
This year’s event was attended by leaders from the WA business community, as well as the Most Reverend Donald Sproxton, Auxiliary Bishop of Perth, Peter Abetz MLA, and representatives from the MercyCare Board and Trustees, Sisters of Mercy and Corporate Partners.
“We hope the audience at the Oration gained a profound understanding of the courage of refugees pursuing a better life while recognising the enormous contribution they can make to our society – socially, culturally and economically,” said Mr Hall.
This year, the Oration was used as a platform to launch MercyCare’s Keys to Life Fund
The fund aims to unlock opportunities in our community for people seeking asylum by providing small grants to help bridge the gap to work, education and community connection. You can help by making a donation.