Paris Aristotle AM
Paris Aristotle AM is the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc., also known as Foundation House. Paris has over 25 years’ experience in the field of supporting refugees and asylum seekers, particularly the provision of services to survivors of torture and trauma. Throughout this period, Paris has worked closely with the UNHCR in the field of refugee resettlement and served on a wide range of state and federal government bodies advising on refugee and asylum seeker policy, and multicultural affairs.
In 2012 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers. Paris is currently the Chair of the two federal government councils, the Settlement Services Advisory Council (SSAC) and the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD). He is also an executive member of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma FASSTT).
In 2002 Paris was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal; both honours recognising his longstanding work with refugees, in particular survivors of torture and trauma. Paris is supported by the Agency Management Team and the Board of Management.
In November 2016, Paris was named as the 2017 Victorian Australian of the Year at a ceremony at Government House. The award citation read:
“A tireless advocate for refugees and asylum seekers, Paris Aristotle has made an enormous contribution by helping countless people rebuild their lives in Australia after surviving torture and trauma in their countries of origin. In 1988, Paris began building the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, also known as Foundation House. Now leading a team of more than 200 staff, he has helped refugees recover from unspeakable trauma, through a range of mental health, health, advocacy, educational and community services. Paris has worked closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the field of refugee resettlement and has been instrumental in building a national network of torture and trauma services. For almost three decades he has advised both sides of politics on refugee and asylum seeker policy, and multicultural affairs. Currently the Chair of two federal government councils, Paris has demonstrated patience, personal integrity and practical skill as he navigates what is often an ethical and political minefield.”
The 2017 Australian of the Year will be announced in Canberra on January 25, 2017. For further information about the Australian of the Year awards, click here.