“The more I learn about filmmaking, the more I see myself in it. I feel the need to create something I can immerse myself in and share with the world.”


Aspiring filmmaker Joelle Sanounou has been awarded the Australia for UNHCR Beddie Scholarship, a grant to help a talented refugee storyteller attend the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Joelle - who left Syria to find safety in Lebanon, arriving in Australia in 2016 – is already a storytelling talent in the making.

“My dream is to create something unique and special, to show the people my world, and tell them something new,” Joelle says.

“As I listen to people’s stories, I believe everyone has a voice they want to project – and a filmmaker can make this voice echo.

This scholarship is named for Rurer Beddie, who escaped the Japanese invasion of China and the German occupation of the island of Jersey in the Second World War before settling in Australia.

Francesca Beddie, daughter of Rurer and a former diplomat, says, “It is the stories behind the news headlines that help us truly understand the human condition.”

The Australia for UNHCR Beddie scholarship, which was developed in partnership with the Public Education Foundation, covers all tuition and living expenses for a bachelor’s degree at the prestigious Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in Sydney, and includes an internship with the Australia for UNHCR team.

Joelle Sanounou (left) will study at AFTRS thanks to the scholarship sponsored by Francesca Beddie (right). © Australia for UNHCR

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