The Power of Hope/Asylum By Boat

Kon Karapanagiotidis + Dr Claire Higgins

Auditorium 1, State Library of Queensland

Biography / Culture/Social Equity



#About the event


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 over 5,000 people seeking asylum 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 & farms planted the seeds for his passion for human rights. He started early, by volunteering at his first of 25 charities, a centre for homeless men at the age of 18, and went on to complete 6 degrees and become 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), a Churchill Fellowship & finalist for Australian of The Year (Victoria) & 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.

Dr Claire Higgins

Dr Claire Higgins

Historian Dr Claire Higgins is a Senior Research Associate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW, and the author of Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia’s Refugee Policy. Claire has also written for The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and Forbes, and she is currently a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

Claire holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford, and was previously a visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute.


Nance Haxton

Nance Haxton

Nance Haxton has proven her excellent reporting track record over more than 20 years. She’s a two-time winner of Australian journalism's most prestigious honour - the Walkley Award, a dual winner of the Clarion Award for excellence in Queensland journalism, and has won a silver and two bronze trophies from the New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs awards.

She has a passion for justice, and sees her main motivation for working in journalism as giving those who do not normally have access to the media a voice.

Nance graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in 2001 with a Masters in Journalism after completing her research thesis on “The Death of Investigative Journalism.”

After a year in the Sydney ABC Radio Newsroom, Nance became the South Australian correspondent for ABC Radio Current Affairs, reporting to AM, PM and The World Today. For six years until the end of 2017 Nance continued to report for these programs from Brisbane.

Nance Haxton is also a qualified speech and drama teacher, university lecturer, adept speaker, MC, and moderator. She sees her greatest journalistic skill as empathy – which she learned from her intellectually disabled older brother Ashley. She would like to thank him for inspiring her daily to do all that you can with the skills that you have.

Gabriella Coslovich

Gabriella Coslovich

Gabriella Coslovich is a freelance writer, journalist and editor with more than 20 years’ experience, including 15 years at The Age newspaper in Melbourne where she specialised in the arts. She has profiled artists as diverse as John Cale and Barry Humphries, Miriam Margolyes and Gina Lollobrigida, and was the first person to unearth and interview David Walsh, the idiosyncratic professional gambler and owner of the now world-famous Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania.

In 2010 she broke the story of an audacious alleged art fraud involving three huge paintings in the style of the late Australian artist Brett Whiteley. The alleged fraud would eventually be tried in the Supreme Court of Victoria and become the basis for her book Whiteley on Trial.   

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