Speaker Date Topic
Louise Keast May 24, 2022 7:40 AM
New Generations Service Exchange
New Generations Service Exchange

Louise Keast grew up in the NSW mining town of Broken Hill, from which the legacy of June Bronhill has been a source of profound inspiration in her drive to pursue a career as a proud Australian performer of the operatic art form.

Louise is now based in Sydney as she recently became permanent member of the Opera Australia Chorus, which is currently performing in Melbourne. Before that she was living in Warrnambool where she founded a choir which has grown to more than 70 members from 5 different regional town centres. This experience has demonstrated to Louise the power of music to move people, to change lives and to heal. She has taught several choir members to read music and to sing in a foreign language. In 2020 Louise took on the role of secretary of iOpera, a not-for-profit opera company.

She aspires to becoming a leader in the management of the arts where there are too few women in senior roles.

Louise has performed with Opera Australia, Melbourne Opera, Canberra Opera and numerous regional music festivals, including the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival. She was a finalist in the 2020 Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria Award, was twice a semi-finalist in the Herald Sun Aria Competition and has several other awards.

Michael Dimovski May 24, 2022 7:40 AM
New Generations Service Exchange
New Generations Service Exchange

Michael’s background in music began with piano at an early age, and then pursuing exams on the instrument. Later, during his time in high school, Michael was introduced to musical theatre at the Geelong Society of Dramatic Arts which lead to him developing a keen interest in Performance. Michael’s introduction and transition into classical voice began in his final years of high school, leading him to further study at the Melbourne Conservatorium and now pursuing Opera as a career. During his tertiary studies he also took up teaching and discovered his interest in educating and helping others.

Michael was selected to be a part of the Richard Divall Emerging Artist’s Program for 2018 and was a participant in the Opera Scholars Australia Program where he was the recipient of the Gary Canning Scholarship and was a finalist in their annual Opera Scholar of the year competition in February 2020. He recently participated in an international performance tour in China which presented Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro to 20 cities throughout the country. Michael has performed in numerous productions with Melbourne Opera, Victorian Opera and now with Opera Australia.

Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi May 31, 2022 7:40 AM
Navigating the Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises under the Taliban in Afghanistan
Navigating the Human Rights and Humanitarian Crises under the Taliban in Afghanistan

Following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021, Afghanistan has descended into spiralling human rights and humanitarian crises. The Taliban de facto government announced in September 2021 has steadily dismantled the legal and constitutional orders that were established with international assistance since 2001. The group has not yet formally adopted a new constitution that guarantees the rights of the citizens of the country and provides the legal mechanism for the functioning of a new government. Yet, the Taliban leadership has gradually adopted measures that cumulatively led to the revival of the repressive and violent emirate that they sought to establish in the country from 1996 to 2001. The de facto return to the Taliban’s authoritarian and repressive rule has threatened the fundamental rights of Afghanistan’s citizens, especially women and minority groups such as the Hazaras.

In the meantime, Afghanistan is facing one of the world’s most acute humanitarian crises that is creating nearly universal poverty across the country with millions suffering from hunger and acute food crisis. The Taliban’s control over the country is also increasingly challenged by the emergence of multiple insurgencies, and the escalation of violence by the Islamic State – Khorasan. The Taliban’s heavy-handed repression of resistance to its rule has led to reports of mass atrocities targeting the anti-Taliban constituencies. These challenges pose multiple dilemmas for various actors in the international community as they try to navigate the uncertain political, security, and legal environments in the country. This talk will explore these challenges and will make the case for a long-term approach that places human rights and the long-term stability of the country at the heart of international policies toward Afghanistan.

Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi is a Lecturer in International Relations at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He completed his PhD in 2018 at the Australian National University. His research interests include social mobilisation, political movements, and state building. He is the author of The Hazaras and the Afghan State: Rebellion, Exclusion and Struggle for Recognition (London: Hurst & Co. 2017). He has previously worked for the International Crisis Group (2002-05) and the Crisis States Research Centre of the London School of Economics (2005-10).