Law graduate’s compassion rewarded

Law graduate’s compassion rewarded

15 Aug 2011

A passion for human rights and dedication to the community has led La Trobe University Law graduate and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Kon Karapanagiotidis to be acknowledged as this year’s Young Achiever at the La Trobe University Alumni Awards.

photo of konGraduating with a Bachelor of Law at La Trobe in 1999, Kon’s personal experiences of racism and bearing witness to the exploitation his parents faced in factory work, garnered his interest in human rights.

This concern saw Kon start a small food bank in Footscray a decade ago to help people in need. 

Today as the CEO and Founder, the food bank has become the ‘Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’ with 800 volunteers who deliver services to some 7,000 refugees within the community and in detention centres.

Kon’s work has previously been acknowledged with a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 and an Order of Australia Medal in 2011 and now La Trobe University has recognised his service with the Alumni Young Achiever Award.

The awards were presented by La Trobe University’s Chancellor, Adrienne E Clarke AC, at a special ceremony on Monday 15 August. 

Congratulating the winners, Professor Clarke said: ‘When our alumni do so well on the national and international stage, we know the University has been successful in its mission which is to be a recognised leader in the scholarly discovery, preservation, transmission and application of knowledge.

‘These alumni and their achievements are highly valued by the University for the wonderful contributions they have made to society. They also enhance our reputation for producing community leaders and are a model for our current students.’ 

Mr Karapanagiotidis’ says the issue of asylum seekers ‘goes to the very heart of who we are as a nation’, and tests ‘our character and moral fabric’. To date we have followed the path of fear and ignorance. The time to follow the path of justice and humanity has come.’ 

More about Kon Karapanagiotidis 

Kon Karapanagiotidis is the CEO and founder of ASRC, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). Since opening their doors in 2001 the ASRC has become the largest provider of aid, advocacy and health services for asylum seekers in Australia. The ASRC deals directly with asylum seekers both living in the community and in detention, and provides support as they seek refugee status in Australia.

Kon graduated from La Trobe University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences, and completed his Bachelor of Law at La Trobe in 1999.

His work as CEO of ASRC has been widely recognised. He was a Finalist for Australian of the Year (Victoria) in 2007, invited to participate in the 2020 Summit in 2008, was voted one of Australia’s twenty Unsung Heroes, as part of the 2008 of the new Portrait Gallery in Canberra, and was chosen as one of Melbourne’s 100 Most Influential People in The Age Melbourne Magazine. Most recently, Kon’s work was acknowledged with a Churchill Fellowship in 2010 and an Order of Australia Medal in 2011.

ENDS

Stephen Scoglio
Web and Communications Officer 
T (03) 9479 1604 M 0421 347 816 E S.Scoglio@latrobe.edu.au 



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