The Power of Hope with Kon Karapanagiotidis
In The Power of Hope, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre founder Kon Karapanagiotidis describes how he prevailed over a childhood of racism, bullying and isolation – and went on to create one of Australia’s largest and most influential human rights organisations. ‘Hope is only exhausted if we forsake ourselves,’ he writes. ‘It is both our sanctuary and our destiny to live a life with love, belonging, connection and community.'
To celebrate his heartfelt memoir, Karapanagiotidis hosts a night of hope-driven storytelling with Alisha Fernando, Banok Rind, Abiola Ajetomobi, Leila Gurruwiwi, Jane Vadiveloo and Carolina Cabezas.
Kon Karapanagiotidis 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. They assist thousands of people each year, with the help of over 1200 volunteers and 125 staff.
Alisha Fernando is the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Melbourne where she is responsible for leading the Diversity and Inclusion portfolio across the University, with a strong focus on implementation of programs and initiatives supporting 5 key pillars: Gender, LGBTI+, Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Indigenous, Ethnicity and Race.
Alisha was born in Vietnam in 1980. Fleeing Vietnam in 1982 with her parents and uncle, they were rescued by a Dutch freight ship in the South China Sea. The Dutch ship brought Alisha and her family to a refugee camp in Pulau Bidong (Malaysia) where they received refugee status and granted safe haven to Australia.
Abiola Ajetomobi is the Director at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Innovation Hub. Abiola has more than 17 years management experience, in local and state government as well as in not for-profit organisations, both here and in overseas.
Leila Gurruwiwi is a proud Yolngu woman originally from Galiwinku on Elcho Island in North East Arnhem land. Growing up most of her life in Bendigo, Victoria, Leila finished Year 12 in Melbourne and six months after finishing her VCE was thrown into the deep end when The Marngrook Footy Show was commissioned by NITV to begin as a television show in 2017.
Jane Vadiveloo is the founding CEO of Children’s Ground. She has a Masters in Forensic Psychology and has a 20-year history leading reform and services provision with communities experiencing extreme disadvantage and trauma. She has lived in the Northern Territory for 19 years and has over 30 year connections with Arrernte people in Central Australia.
Banok Rind is a proud Yamatji Badimaya woman from Western Australia. She is a registered nurse and currently the Deputy Executive Officer at the Koorie Youth Council. Banok has a background in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and advocacy within the Aboriginal mentoring, leadership and health space.
Carolina is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. Her research focuses on multilingualism and multilingual education in the early years, exploring how young children, educators and families negotiate and practice languages in early childhood classrooms. Carolina’s interests include autoethnographic and post qualitative research approaches, as well as the use of performance and poetry as methods of inquiry in education research.