Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM
Speaking at 4pm on Thursday 21 February
Kon is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and a fierce advocate for rights of people seeking asylum, refugees and Indigenous Australians. He is also a human rights lawyer, social worker, Board Member for Children’s Ground, philanthropist, masseur and cooking enthusiast.
Inspired by the struggles of his parents and his childhood experiences of racism, Kon founded the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in 2001, aged 28. Then a TAFE teacher, he discovered that people seeking asylum were living in the community with no basic support. This led to the creation of a student run and community funded food bank launched from a tiny shop in Footscray with only a few boxes of food.
Kon was an Australian of the Year (Victoria) finalist in 2007, was invited to participate in the 2020 Summit in 2008, was voted one of Australia’s 20 Unsung Heroes as part of the launch of the new Portrait Gallery in Canberra the same year, and was voted one of Melbourne’s 100 most influential people in The Age Melbourne Magazine. He was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 and an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2011. In 2012, he was a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s prestigious Human Rights Medal. In 2016 he was named been the City of Maribyrnong Citizen of the Year and received the La Trobe University Young Achiever Award.