01 August 2018

Michael Dwyer AM, Chief Executive Officer of First State Super, has been appointed as the new Chairman of Australia for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s national partner for Australia.

Australia for UNHCR is responsible for engaging corporates, communities and individuals to support UNHCR’s global relief operations to protect people fleeing conflict. Last year it raised $38.7m to deliver humanitarian aid in 53 countries.

Mr Dwyer is a committed advocate for refugees and has been a board director for Australia for UNHCR since its launch in 2000. During this time he has visited UNHCR operations in countries such as East Timor, Turkey and Lebanon to see the impact of Australian donations and meet with refugees to learn firsthand about their needs.

He has also been instrumental in galvanising support for refugees within the financial services sector, for example spearheading corporate support for Australia for UNHCR’s annual World Refugee Day Breakfast, which has now raised more than $1.5m.

“My work with Australia for UNHCR has brought me very close to the tragedy of loss and displacement caused by conflict and natural disaster. It has also demonstrated to me the power of the human spirit; and the capacity of people to overcome incredible setbacks and to rebuild their lives." Michael Dwyer

"Australians have been incredibly generous supporters over the years and I look forward to working with our board, our fantastic team and our donors to raise funds to support those who are most vulnerable and in need,” continued Michael Dwyer.

Australia for UNHCR National Director, Naomi Steer, added: “Michael’s passion for the refugee cause has no limit and his valuable counsel has already played a significant role in the growth of our organisation since we first launched. We are delighted to see him take the helm as our new chairman as we help UNHCR respond to unprecedented global displacement around the world.”

Mr Dwyer replaces founding Chairman, John Denton, who is stepping down to relocate to Paris after being appointed as Secretary-General for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). During his tenure, Mr Denton has helped steer the organisation from start-up to becoming Australia’s leading charity focused on humanitarian response to the global refugee crisis.

“We are enormously grateful for John’s leadership and dedication to the refugee cause. His guidance has helped underpin the profound growth of our organisation since we launched and mobilised high-level contributions from both the private and government sectors,” said Ms Steer. “We are proud that John is taking up such an important global leadership role with the ICC – and I know he is committed to promoting global corporate engagement with UNHCR.”

Mr Denton was previously the Chief Executive Officer and Partner of Corrs Chambers Westgarth Lawyers, one of Australia for UNHCR’s key corporate partners. Corrs Chambers Westgarth has supported UNHCR through donations, staff giving programs, sponsorship and pro bono legal support.

Michael Dwyer meets Syrian refugees during UNHCR mission to Lebanon.

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