Hala Abdelnour, CEO and Founder
I grew up in a culture that attaches a lot of significance to names. It holds strong beliefs that what you name your child will impact its life. My first name, Hala (Arabic: هالة), is an Arabic female name meaning “the aura of light around the moon/sun”… in short, it means “halo”. It is best pronounced with more strain on the first ‘a’ (similar to Carla) but without the ‘r’.
My family name, Abdelnour, is the french spelling of an Arabic masculine name (Arabic: عبد النور). It is built from the Arabic root words ‘abd’ (servant or worshipper), ‘el’ (‘the’) and ‘nour’ (light, also referring to God – The Light); and therefore means “servant of God”.
My name translates to Halo, servant of God – so I was destined to become a social worker.
It’s been quite a journey getting to this point, with each experience contributing to the skills I bring today.
At the age of 9, I migrated to Australia. By the time I was 12, I was well acquainted with the traumas of living through a war, as well as surviving migration and its accompanying disillusionment. In my late teens I participated in a youth leadership program, and it was during that time that I knew I wanted to 1/ continue to transform myself; and 2/ facilitate similar transformation and growth for others.
My career started in community development and settlement services for migrant and refugee communities, as well as the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) sector, in a maximum security male prison. That’s where I first delivered individual and group psycho- educational and therapeutic programs and developed my skills at working with a culturally inclusive method. During my formative years across two sectors, I was exposed to a wide spectrum of family violence and I supported people living with and surviving abuse, as well as those using violence.
I was also introduced to diversity and inclusion consulting at an early age and I eventually established Global Echo Consultants where I have been advocating for intercultural and interfaith connection. It was a combination of this work and my love for group facilitation and therapeutic transformation that led me to the family violence specialist sector as a Men’s Behaviour Change Facilitator, consultant and workforce development educator.
You can find out more about my professional background if you follow me on LinkedIn.
Today, at the Institute of non-violence, I am expanding my work on diversity and inclusion, social justice and non-violence. I use my years of specialist knowledge and skills to provide services to organisations and practitioners on working with complex trauma, multi-ethnic and multi-faith communities, as well as engaging violent offenders (including family violence perpetrators).
I have had the privilege and joy to work across almost every cohort of society, in the Not-for-Profit (NFP), public and private sectors, in various countries and using different languages. I am excited to establish the Institute of non-violence as a bridge built by these experiences that can bind together an array of skills and practice expertise to enhance the Australian response to family, gendered and systemic violence.