01 April 2023


A Refugee Journey

Documentary Screening & Panel Discussion

Batoor image

Documentary Screening &
Panel Discussion
With Barat Ali Batoor

Join us for a screening of the poignant and touching documentary, Batoor: A Refugee Journey by Walkley Award winning photojournalist, Barat Ali Batoor. Batoor: A Refugee Journey follows Batoor’s path from Afghanistan through to Australia in search of safety and sanctuary.

Barat Ali Batoor was once Afghanistan’s most esteemed photographer working for the United States Embassy in Kabul. But in 2011, all this changed when The Washington Post published his potent photo essay exposing one of Afghanistan’s darkest secrets – the brutal trade in young ‘dancing boys’ for the purposes of entertainment and forced prostitution.

With death threats looming over his head, he embarked on a journey that would see him cross three continents. Remarkably, he photographed and filmed his entire journey - creating an insightful record of the dangerous world of asylum seekers, people smuggling and cross border trafficking. His film documents not only his journey but the lives of asylum seekers who make perilous journeys to escape persecution. Batoor: A Refugee Journey also presents a life-affirming journey of courage and determination in the face of insurmountable odds, and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Batoor was awarded 'Best Director' for his documentary film, and was also nominated for the 2021 Walkley Documentary Award. 

Batoor’s film will screen from 2pm - 3.30pm, followed by a Panel Discussion with Barat Ali BatoorAssociate Professor Mary Anne Kenny - Murdoch University and University of South Australia and Professor Nicholas Procter - University of South Australia.

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre 

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Batoor: A Refugee Journey documents Barat Ali Batoor's epic journey that saw him traverse three continents, be people smuggled over multiple borders, survive a shipwreck in the open seas, become lost in the jungles of Indonesia, escape from imprisonment and spend months living undercover as an illegal immigrant.

This is the harrowing story of one person’s struggle to find freedom and safety while also probing moral issues around human displacement, people smuggling and migration policy.

The film highlights the powerlessness and the precarious lives of the world’s 70 million displaced souls; and is an attempt to give a voice to the planet’s most vulnerable people. 



Barat Ali Batoor
Photographer And Filmmaker

Barat Ali Batoor is a multi award-winning photographer and filmmaker. His photographs were exhibited across the world including the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.

His works have been published in The Washington PostNewsweekNew York TimesWall Street JournalThe GuardianSternIndia TodayRisk MagazineThe Global MailThe Daily MailThe West AustralianStrategic Review and others.

He participated in “Lahore Artist Residency” by VASL in Lahore, Pakistan and was the 2009 recipient of a photography grant from New York’s Open Society Institute for the project “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”. He is the winner of Nikon-Walkleys Photo of the Year 2013 award as well as a winner in the Photo Essay category. He was also awarded “Communication for Social Change Award” by the University of Queensland.

He was a speaker at the TEDxSydney in 2014.

Batoor’s documentary film Batoor: A Refugee Journey won an award for the ‘Best Director’ at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. The film was also nominated for the 2021 Walkley Documentary Award. Batoor currently works as an Organiser with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and teaches photojournalism at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Batoor is also the recipient of RMIT’s Dean award for an Exemplary Sessional Staff Member 2021. Batoor also spoke at the TEDxIIITV on the topic of ‘The struggle of Identity and Belonging’.

 Website: Barat Ali Batoor

Barat Ali Batoor

Associate Professor Mary Anne Kenny
School Of Law, Murdoch University & Phd Candidate University Of South Australia

Associate Professor Mary Anne Kenny is based at the School of Law, Murdoch University, and is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate at the University of South Australia. Associate Professor Kenny teaches and researches in human rights, refugee, and immigration law. She is a legal practitioner and works closely with refugee non-government organisations and refugee communities. Her research interests lie in the intersection of refugee status determination and issues related to mental health. She was the Chair of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia between 2009–12; Chair of the Legal Sub Committee of the Joint Advisory Committee for Nauru Regional Processing Arrangements; and a member of the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention between 2012–16.

 The Conversation Profile: Mary Anne Kelly

Associate Professor Mary Anne Kenny

Professor Nicholas Procter
Director: Mental Health And Suicide Prevention Research And Education Group, University Of South Australia

Professor Nicholas Procter is the Director, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research and Education Group, Clinical and Health Sciences, University of South Australia. Professor Procter has longstanding research and education interests in trauma informed practice and suicide prevention for people of migrant and refugee backgrounds, including people with insecure visa status. He was the Chair of the Health Sub-Committee of the Joint Advisory Committee for Nauru Regional Processing Arrangements; a member of the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention; and an independent advisor to a Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Own Motion Investigation into Suicide and Self-Harm in the Immigration Detention Network. He has co-designed with government and community groups trauma-informed resources with people of refugee backgrounds, as well as for use during the COVID-19 pandemic, after bushfires, and in the context of forensic mental health and quality and safety in healthcare. Professor Procter is Australia’s National Representative to the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s Council for National Representatives.

 The Conversation Profile: Nicholas Procter

Professor Nicholas Procter

Presented by
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre


While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.