Welcoming Cities


Parramatta, Australia



Growth Rate


Key Stakeholders

  • Refugees / Migrants

  • First Nations

  • Whole Community

Refugees ; Migrants First Nations Whole Community

Other Stakeholders

  • Local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs

  • City Authorities

  • State / Federal Actors

  • Academia

  • Media

  • Private Sector

  • Donors

  • Multilateral Organisations

Local NGOs, CSOs, CBOs City Authorities State ; Federal Actors Academia Media Private Sector Donors Multilateral Organisations

Relevant SDGS

  • 10 Reduced Inequalities
  • 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 16 Peace, Justice


City and Sector

City and Sector





Building a national network of cities and municipalities committed to an Australia where everyone can belong and participate in social, cultural, economic and civic life.


  • The benefits of migration, cultural diversity and social cohesion in Australia are not being enjoyed by all.

  • First Nations across Australia represent more than 250 language groups and the oldest continuous culture, yet they struggle for recognition and treaty. The City of Parramatta has been home to the Darug People for more than 60,000 years. 0.7% of the city’s population is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.3

  • In 2019, 50% of residents in Paramatta were born overseas, compared to 37% of residents in Greater Sydney, Australia’s capital.3

  • Overall, by 2050, each individual migrant will on average be contributing approximately 10% more to Australia’s economy than existing residents.4


In this interview, Aleem Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Welcoming Australia and David Lubell, Founding Director of Welcoming International, tell us how they are working closely with local governments across Australia to build a network of Welcoming Cities inclusive of migrants, refugees, First Nations people and whole communities, and also supporting the ambitions and learning of their global movement of members doing the same in countries around the world.

Our multicultural success story really can’t exist in a vacuum… addressing injustices and supporting self-determination is really a critical aspect of building inclusive communities.

Aleem Ali

Chief Executive Officer, Welcoming Australia

If a seed’s being put into a garden – or putting itself into a garden…if a refugee is entering a new community – how do you make sure that the soil is fertile?

David Lubell

Founder of Welcoming America and Welcoming International.

Often great ideas just translate to service delivery or delivery for communities, rather than delivery with and by communities.

Aleem Ali

Chief Executive Officer, Welcoming Australia

Key Programme Activities

  • Community engagement

  • Education/behaviour change

  • Organisational training/skills building

  • Policy/advocacy

  • Research

  • Stakeholder co-ordination and network-building

  • Technical support

Key Outcomes

Since 2016, Welcoming Cities has:

  • Catalysed community-level innovations led by local government, such as The Paramatta Dialogues project, Australia’s first model for inter-cultural dialogue and exchange between First Nations persons and newly-arrived migrants, which has generated learning for replication elsewhere.

  • In less than four years, reached 50 members representing more than 30% of the Australian population.

  • Via Welcoming International, joined a growing network of more than 300 municipalities in eight countries: Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, Mexico, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, using similar approaches.

  • Photo Credits
  •  – Welcoming Australia
  • Notes
  •  – 1 Statistics from Welcoming Australia and Id Community
  •  – 2 Statistics from Id Community, estimated average annual growth rate (2016-2041), the population for the City of Parramatta is forecast to increase by 253,285 persons (108.04% growth), at an average annual change of 2.97%
  •  – 3 Statistics from Welcoming Australia
  •  – 4 Statistics from Migration Council Australia (2016)

Innovation Report     2020