For over 30 years, Carmel Guerra has been a strong advocate for young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds in Victoria.
In 1988, Carmel helped form the Ethnic Youth Issues Network and in 2000 established the Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues (CMYI). These organisations seeded the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) in 2007, Victoria’s first independent organisation to work exclusively with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
Carmel’s journey to improve advocacy and support networks for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds has placed her at the forefront of service delivery and policy development. With a background in direct youth work, she has used her experience to collaborate in research partnerships and write or contribute to numerous publications, including ‘Ethnic Youth Gangs in Australia: Do they exist?’, and ‘Wealth of all Nations’; the first comprehensive study undertaken into the needs of refugee young people in Australia.
Carmel is recognized for her knowledge on multicultural youth issues and her commentary has been published in major newspapers and journals. She has served on numerous boards and committees and is currently a member of the Youth Parole Board of Victoria, the Victorian Children’s Council, the Migration Council of Australia and the Settlement Services Advisory Council.
Carmel is also the Chairperson of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN), the national peak body representing multicultural youth issues in Australia.
Carmel was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016 for services to multicultural youth in Victoria, the Victorian Premier’s Award for Community Harmony in 2015 and the Centenary Medal for services to young people from migrant and refugee communities in 2005. She was also awarded a Not-for-Profit Fellowship at Harvard Business School in 2016.
Carmel remains a fearless advocate for multicultural young people.