Portrait of Kon Karapanagiotidis

Kon Karapanagiotidis

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.  

Kon grew up in a working-class family in a small country town in Victoria. His personal experience of racism and witnessing the exploitation of his parents in factories and farms planted the seeds for his passion for human rights. He started volunteering at a centre for homeless men at the age of 18, and went on to do volunteer work at 24 other charities. He also completed six degrees, becoming a lawyer, social worker, and teacher. 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) and a Churchill Fellowship. He was finalist for Australian of The Year (Victoria) and the Human Rights Medal, as well as Citizen of the Year in his local community. His memoir, The Power of Hope is published by HarperCollins Australia.

Photo: Kim Landy