About Carina

Dr Carina Hoang • Ambassador of Australia for UNHCR • Academic • Public speaker • Actor • Historian

Carina Hoang fled Vietnam at age 16 on a wooden boat with her two younger siblings and 370 other refugees. She survived the harrowing journey and extreme challenges living in a primitive refugee camp in Indonesia until the USA accepted them for resettlement.

Over the next 30 years, Carina followed academic pursuits and built a successful corporate career, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, an Honours Degree in Gender and Cultural Studies, a Master of Business Administration and a Doctorate in Philosophy. 

In 2007, Carina moved to Australia and has since made a significant impact raising awareness of refugee issues. Her years of commitment led her to organise expeditions back to the remote Indonesian island where her refugee boat was abandoned, assisting families to locate the graves of their loved ones who died there. 

In 2010, as an author, Carina published her first book Boat People to tell the stories of Vietnamese refugees. As a producer, she published six non-fiction books, three of which received international awards. 

In 2011, Carina was inducted into the WA Women's Hall of Fame.

In 2012, Carina was appointed the Special Representative of Australia for UNHCR.

Most recently, Carina became an actress, starring as one of the main cast in the ABC’s multiple award-winning TV drama The Heights. 

She is a sought-after public speaker at a wide range of national and international events from the high-profile TEDxPerth to parliament and educational institutions.

Her representative roles include Ambassador for the Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Week, Special Representative of Australia for UNHCR, Ambassador for Hong Kong Australia Business Association, Ambassador for the University of California Southeast Asian Archive, Board Director of ISHAR – Multicultural Health Centre, and Committee Member of WA Women’s Hall of Fame.

Carina has also been a lecturer, researcher, interpreter/translator, and is currently consulting private companies in Business Development and Human Resources.

2016 Nansen Refugee Award ceremony in Geneva with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. 

In 2018 Carina became an actress and was a member of the ensemble cast in the ABC’s award-winning TV Drama Series ‘The Heights’

The Heigts went on to win the coveted 2020 Equity Awards for  Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble cast.

In 2012 Carina was appointed Special Representative of Australia for UNHCR.

Carina was nominated as Best Actress at the 2021 International Viet Film Festival.

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