Love leads the way and brings back even more

Love leads the way and brings back even more

Growing up, Kon Karapanagiotidis had the nickname “Mr Alphabet” due to his unpronounceable surname. As a child of Greek immigrants, he developed a keen understanding of the otherness experienced by refugees and the importance of welcoming and accepting strangers, known as “philoxenia” in Greek culture.

This understanding has been the foundation of his work as the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), which provides health care, food, housing, legal, and financial support to thousands of people seeking asylum in Australia.

In early 2023, the ASRC faced a significant drop in public support, with donations down by 45%. While donors had not stopped caring, two factors seemed at play: financial struggles due to inflation, wage stagnation, and rising interest rates, and a change of government that created a sense of complacency and assumption that everything would change overnight. However, Karapanagiotidis led a massive community fundraising campaign to save the center that he founded in 2001 and raised the required $5.1 million in just 19 days.

Karapanagiotidis believes that a new kind of leadership is emerging, especially among young people, who hunger for compassion and a sensible middle ground. He suggests three simple things anyone can do to help people in need: donate, make their voice heard, and get involved as a volunteer.

Volunteering has been a transformative experience for him, teaching him deeper empathy, gratitude, and appreciation for what he had. Acting in service of others has grounded him in a profound purpose and meaning of life, which is to love and be loved, give and receive, and leave a legacy of a kinder and better community. Karapanagiotidis encourages everyone to lead with love as it will return to them tenfold.


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