New CEO to champion the voice of displaced people

We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Elijah Buol OAM to the role of Act for Peace’s Chief Executive Officer, commencing in February this year.

As a former refugee with extensive experience in human services, advocacy, people management and not-for-profit leadership, and a member of the Anglican Church, Mr Buol is well positioned to lead the organisation as it enters its 75th year of empowering people displaced by conflict and disasters across the globe.

Image of Elijah Buol, Act for Peace's new CEO.
Act for Peace’s new incoming CEO, Elijah Buol OAM.

Mr Buol brings a deep understanding of the issues people experiencing displacement face. After losing his parents to conflict when he was a child, he spent many years in refugee camps in South Sudan before coming to Australia in 2002 as a humanitarian unaccompanied minor. 

In Australia, Mr Buol achieved university qualifications including a Master of Law, Master of Justice in Intelligence, a Bachelor of Human Services and is currently completing a Juris Doctor Law at the Australian National University. He has also received numerous awards for advocacy and community services including the Australian of Year’s Queensland Hero Award (2019).

Mr Buol has held various leadership positions throughout his career, including Acting CEO with Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, Executive Director of the Refugee Communities Association of Australia and most recently, the Queensland State Manager of Migration Support Programs for Australian Red Cross.

He sits on numerous committees and is currently the Chair of Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland and Member of the Settlement Advisory Council, Department of Home Affairs. 

“His extensive experience in strategic management and policy transformation combined with a genuine passion for our cause and his refugee background, makes Elijah an excellent CEO for Act for Peace,” says Chair of Act for Peace, Leigh Cleave.  “We’re delighted to welcome him aboard and look forward to working together to further our work in empowering displaced people to rebuild their lives through locally-led protection policy, advocacy and programs.”

President of the National Council of Churches Australia Rev. John Gilmore says, “the NCCA welcomes Elijah Buol as the new CEO of Act for Peace and looks forward to working with him and to the way that his experience, skills and personal journey will shape Act for Peace into the future. Elijah’s appointment is strategic for Act for Peace, and his skills are enriched by his personal experience as a refugee.”

Mr Buol’s personal journey inspires his humanitarian work in advocating for the 114 million* displaced people around the globe.

“People who are displaced are not just numbers. They are real people with dreams, hopes and aspirations that can be realised. It’s up to us, to create meaningful impact by holding people’s hands –­ to provide safety so they can explore opportunities to realise their dreams and potential,” Mr Buol says.  

“Advocacy is key because people who are displaced don’t have a voice. We need to be that voice.” 

Mr Buol says an inclusive and collaborative approach is key to achieving sustainable solutions to address the unprecedented and growing numbers of people around the globe who are forced to flee their homes, due to conflict and natural disasters. 

“If we all work together to mobilise and share resources, we can grow and create positive impact,” he says. “How do we build a global village which is very unified? How do we elevate our humanitarian spirit?

“How do we build the capacity and resilience of those people who are displaced? It’s about building on their skills, listening to them, working with them on how their needs can be addressed – creating space for an inclusive decision-making process,” Mr Buol says. 

Act for Peace’s purpose ‘to create a world where people uprooted by conflict and disaster have a safe place to belong’ is what drew him to the opportunity to serve as our new CEO.

“I think belonging is the anchor that really allows people to feel that they exist in the society, to feel that they are not alone.”

In the current state of polycrisis, Mr Buol is a firm believer in the power of inspiring hope to enact positive change. An authentic narrative that tells the stories behind the heartbreaking headlines of what can be achieved when people help each other, is key to activating compassionate action.  

“Humanity is limitless,” he says. “The world is calling us to provide support for people in need at this time. It’s time to reflect and be part of the movement – to start asking ourselves, ‘if there is one impact I can make, what would that look like?’ 

“We are the creators of the future, and it requires bringing our hearts, minds and souls together to create a world where everyone belongs.” 

*Over 114 million displaced by war, violence worldwide | UN News

Media Contact:

Kathy Arbuckle, Head of Marketing & Communications
M: 0427 941 120

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