FAMILY and compassion mean everything to Kon Karapanagiotidis.
Raised at Mount Beauty by Greek migrant parents, Karapanagiotidis founded the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre with a vision: to create a place of hope where no one was turned away.
Karapanagiotidis' memoir The Power of Hope outlines his journey to build the largest independent human rights organisation in Australia for refugees and people seeking asylum.
Albury-born Karapanagiotidis' memoir covers how he prevailed over a childhood of racism, bullying and isolation.
"The most important thing you can impart on a child is empathy, resilience, manners, kindness and perspective," Karapanagiotidis said.
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By the age of 18, Karapanagiotidis was already volunteering at a centre for homeless men.
He has gained an Order of Australia Medal, a Churchill Fellowship, been finalist for Australian of The Year (Victoria) and the Human Rights Medal and Citizen of the Year.
Melbourne-based Karapanagiotidis has six degrees and worked as a lawyer, social worker and teacher but family is paramount.
"I'm proud of the son and brother that I am and the friend I am," he said.
"I work really hard to be someone of substance, principle and decency and be there for the people that I care about and that care about me."
Karapanagiotidis said he had been able to conquer his own challenges.
"I wanted to write something that acknowledged the darkness but gave the light and gave people the hope."
The author talk at The Cube Wodonga on Thursday starts at 7pm with a book signing afterwards.