Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the largest independent human rights organisation for refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia. The ASRC assists approximately 5000 people seeking asylum each year, and with the help of over 1200 volunteers and 150 staff, offers more than 40 holistic programs that protect people seeking asylum from persecution and destitution, support wellbeing and dignity, and empower people to advance their own futures.
Kon grew up in a working-class family in a small country town in Victoria. His personal experience of racism and of witnessing the exploitation of his parents in factories & farms planted the seeds of his passion for human rights. He started early, by volunteering at the first of 25 charities, a centre for homeless men at the age of 18. He went on to complete 6 degrees and become a lawyer, social worker, teacher and a published author.
Kon founded the ASRC at the age of 28.
His work has been recognised with over two dozen awards and honours including: an Order of Australia Medal (OAM), a Churchill Fellowship & finalist for Australian of The Year (Victoria) & the Human Rights Medal, as well as Citizen of the Year in his local community.
In 2019, Kon was awarded one of four Impact 25 Judges Choice Awards by Pro Bono, leading news, jobs, research organisation for the NFP and social sector. He was also recognised in a LinkedIn Power Profile campaign.
Most recently, in May 2019, Kon was recognised with an Honorary Doctor of Laws from his alma mater, La Trobe University and from another alma mater, he received a University of Melbourne Arts Faculty award for ‘Leadership’.
His memoir, The Power of Hope is published by HarperCollins Australia.
Kon will deliver the Syd Herron Oration at the FIA Conference 2021.