The Melbourne Awards have entered a new era, announcing the first ever Young Melburnian of the Year, alongside the prestigious Melburnian of the Year award.
Georgie Stone OAM, 23, is the inaugural Young Melburnian of the Year, recognised as a passionate advocate for trans and gender diversity on a national and global scale.
Founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM was named the Melburnian of the Year.
As the first trans actor to star in the iconic Australian drama show, Neighbours, Georgie has proudly brought positive representation of young trans people to audiences in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Georgie has been awarded countless accolades over the last four years, including the GLOBE GLBTI Person of the Year, the Young People’s Human Rights Medal, the Young Voltaire Award, the Victorian Young Australian of the Year, the Australian LGBTI Hero of the Year and the Medal of the Order of Australia.
At the age of 28, Kon founded his own not for profit organisation, ASRC, in just eight weeks. Since 2001, the organisation has raised more than a quarter of a billion dollars and helped more than 30,000 refugees and people seeking asylum.
The organisation has saved and enhanced the lives of thousands of refugees with the help of passionate volunteers – resulting in a change in national laws, narratives and policies.
Kon was the first member of his family to go to high school – the son of Greek migrants and the grandson of Pontian refugees. Inspired by his family’s experiences of displacement, migration, racism and discrimination, Kon developed a strong passion for human rights and social justice from a young age.
Kon went on to become a lawyer, social worker and teacher, and the recipient of countless accolades – most notably the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011.
2023 Melbourne Award winners:
- Melburnian of the Year: Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM
- Young Melburnian of the Year: Georgie Stone OAM
- Aboriginal Melbourne – ganbu guljin: The Long Walk – a charity event putting lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the national agenda.
- Access and Inclusion: Mojo Festival for World Schizophrenia Day – an event featuring stand-up comedy, music, theatre, visual art, writing and animation in a safe and supportive space.
- Arts and Events: APHIDS – an artist-led organisation making experimental work in public space, festivals, digital platforms, across visual and performing arts, major institutions and beyond.
- City Design: Victorian Family Violence Memorial – a memorial for victims and survivors of family violence, featuring a field of purple flowers and a small seating area.
- Community: The Living Room – a health service providing free healthcare and support to improve the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of those who are or are at risk of experiencing homelessness.
- Knowledge and Innovation: Auslan Education Services – an education service teaching Auslan through an online learning program, bringing innovation to language-learning in primary schools.
- LGBTIQA+: Melbourne Sexual Health Centre – a health centre providing services in public health, clinical care and research, both locally and globally.
- Sustainability: RCYCL – an organisation dedicated to revolutionising the fashion industry through implementing an innovative clothing recycling program.
The City of Melbourne thanks its partners Epicure, Ernst and Young, 3AW, Nine News, Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Naomi Milgrom Foundation, Mitchelton Wines and Home Grown.
For more information on this year’s winners, visit City of Melbourne.
Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp
“The Melbourne Awards shine a light on our city’s unsung heroes – the people going above and beyond to make Melbourne the great place that it is.”
“This year’s finalists are a testament to the dedication and drive of our community – those who are pioneering new ideas, innovations and technologies, bringing Melburnians closer together and positioning our city as a global leader.”
“Our Melbournian of the Year, Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM, has changed the lives of more than 30,000 refugees and people seeking asylum.”
“We’re proud to acknowledge young people doing amazing things this year. Georgie Stone is paving the way for trans and gender diversity and representation in Melbourne and across the world.”
“We’re looking forward to celebrating the 30 inspirational individuals and organisations who have been recognised as finalists.”
Quotes attributable to Melburnian of the Year Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM
“I’m deeply honoured to be awarded Melburnian of the Year. To have the city I love celebrate my life’s work to create a more compassionate and welcoming Australia for refugees and people seeking asylum is a real privilege and gives me so much happiness.”
“To receive an award that recognises the importance of standing with refugee and First Nations communities and fighting for a society where women live free of male violence is truly something that I will always treasure.”