New Beginnings Festival

Celebrating Diversity, Empowering Communities

"New Beginnings is more than a festival; it's a vibrant tapestry of stories, cultures, and shared experiences that celebrate our unity in diversity."

- Festival Attendee

The project in brief

The project is implemented by Settlement Services International (SSI) and partners in Australia. It began in 2014 and is currently ongoing.

The New Beginnings Festival (NBF) is a multicultural celebration that spotlights the creative talents and entrepreneurial spirit of diverse communities, including refugees, migrants, and Indigenous groups in Australia. It aims to foster inclusivity, spark conversations on social equity, and promote unity through artistic expression and cultural exchange. Held at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), the festival engages diverse audiences, reaching over 6,000 attendees from various backgrounds.

The project aims to provide a platform for artists and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, promoting cultural diversity, fostering inclusivity, and creating conversations around social equity. NBF aligns with the SSI Arts & Culture Strategy, fostering community cohesion, cultural exchange, and appreciation of diversity. The extended partnership with ANMM focuses on social cohesion, offering newcomers opportunities to engage with arts, culture, and history.

Main activities of the Good Practice

The festival showcases live music, dance, interactive performances, DJs, food stalls featuring global cuisines, market stalls highlighting refugee/migrant entrepreneurs and Indigenous artisans, family-friendly programs, and experiences promoting cultural connections.

Collaboration with diverse artists, entrepreneurs, community organisations, the private sector and partnerships with environmental institutes like MUNDO Institute have supported the festival's growth and sustainability initiatives.

Partners involved

MUNDO Institute and various cultural, artistic, and environmental organisations.

What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?


Balancing cultural representation, waste management, financial sustainability and ensuring inclusivity were key challenges.

How they were overcome

Addressing these challenges through dedicated programming guidelines, environmental education, and stakeholder engagement helped in managing waste and enhancing inclusivity. Fostering partnerships and private sector sponsorship contributed to financial sustainability.

Results of the Good Practice

  • In 2023, the NBF improved the livelihoods of more than 59 refugee and migrant artists and entrepreneurs, representing 21 cultures fostering strengthened cultural connections among 6,000+ attendees.
  • NBF achieved 73% landfill diversion rate, demonstrating a significant reduction in waste. NBF banned single-use plastics, eliminating over 13,000 items like plastic bags, plates, and cutlery.
  • NBF recovered more than half a ton of waste, including recyclables and organics.
  • Environmental education initiatives engaged 70 crew members, spreading sustainability awareness, volunteer involvement soared with 34 participants on environmental action. Through composting and recycling, NBF saved approximately 3.90 tons of CO2e emissions.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

The NBF significantly contributes to enhancing refugee self-reliance by empowering refugee and migrant entrepreneurs. Through market stalls and talent showcases, it provides a platform for showcasing skills, talents, and entrepreneurial endeavours, fostering economic participation and self-sustainability among refugee communities.

Next steps

Continuing the festival's growth, nurturing partnerships, expanding the program, and furthering sustainability and accessibility efforts.

Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?

Increased collaboration with the private sector, continued support in waste management infrastructure, fostering partnerships, and amplifying the festival's reach for greater inclusivity.

Submitted by

Carmen Ghaly, International Protection Advisor, Settlement Services International (SSI), [email protected]

Contact the project

[email protected]