Dewani Bakkum

Dewani is the Chief Executive Officer of the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services Australia (MARSS Australia). She has been involved in the community and charitable sectors for the past 30 years in Australia and in Fiji, and has an extensive background in developing and delivering services for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, with a strong focus on breaking down cultural and linguistic barriers to facilitate settlement and community participation. Migrating to Australia from Fiji in 1982, Dewani has a strong understanding of the migrant experience and a passion for helping migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants to participate in their new communities and to become proud and engaged members of a diverse Australian society. Dewani is passionate about her Fijian heritage, serving as past President, Vice President and Secretary of the Fiji Australia Association of the ACT.

Dewani has qualifications in Community Services and Development, Business Management and Accounting, and has used her skills to provide strong strategic direction, leadership and problem solving capabilities to MARSS as the CEO, and also as a previous Secretary, Deputy Chair and Chair of the MARSS Board of Management. She has been a member of the ACT Chief Minister’s Advisory Committee to the Office of Fair Trading, and is on the Council of the National Migrant and Refugee Women’s Alliance, the Canberra Multicultural Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee for Welcoming Cities. Dewani was awarded the FECCA Multicultural Award and the ACT International Women’s Award for Multiculturalism in 2008

Dewani is enthusiastic about empowering new and emerging communities to thrive in Canberra, by helping migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants to settle through practical assistance and innovative community development programs. She enjoys using her skills, knowledge and experiences to mentor community sector workers and to provide leadership and strategic direction on Australian settlement services.