Kostapanos Miliaresis is a force of nature. We met in…
I met Charisis back in 2013 when we both volunteered for TEDxAcademy in Athens and quickly became friends. I was impressed by his numerous talents but more importantly his ongoing passion to make the world a better place by exploiting, thanks to his Engineering background, innovation and technology. Currently a Project Management full-time graduate student at the University of Warwick, Charisis is constantly seeking means to implement his creativity. His cheerful personality shines throughout all his endeavors.
Meet this young changemaker in this brief interview.
You have volunteered for events and organizations in Greece and abroad like the Board of European Students of Technology (BEST) student NGO, numerous TEDx events and the global Merit360 conference. What does volunteerism mean to you?
Charisis Papacharisis: Volunteerism for me is a way of channeling my creativity towards a cause I consider valuable and beneficial for the community. Whether it is nurturing ideas worth spreading (TEDx), empowering students (BEST) or tackling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Merit360), all these events gave me the chance to cooperate wholeheartedly with likeminded people towards a common goal. A magnificent feeling.
You were hand-picked to participate at Merit360, the world’s most innovative conference for young people, based in New York City. What were your activities over the course of the 17 days you were there and what was the impact of such an experience on yourself?
C.P: Merit360 was definitely a pioneering project. The program brought together 360 young people from all over the world, such as entrepreneurs or activists who worked in groups. Each team developed a feasible business plan, with the support of exemplary mentors, oriented towards one of the SDGs. All of them were combined in one Action Plan which was handed out to UN officials, by the end of the summit.
We also had the chance to present the outcomes of our research at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a truly unique experience.
The conference enabled me to interact with people of 85 nationalities and totally changed my perspective. I realized how little we actually know about what is happening out of our comfort zone. We live in our own bubble and ignore, often deliberately, major issues that other nations suffer from.
It has been a month and a half since you started your Facebook photo project entitled «Portraits of Purpose». What has inspired you to start uploading this thematic photography?
C.P: During the project, I had the pleasure to meet a lot of great people, get to know a bit of their life perspective and the initiatives they are involved in. And like that, the idea of this project was born- totally spontaneously! I have been an amateur photographer for a couple of years and thought it would be amazing to use this passion of mine, in order to raise some awareness of what is going on across the globe.
My primary purpose is to demonstrate that there are young, active people worldwide who do try to improve the quality of life in their local communities- one step at a time. Motivated next door people are really doing their part for a better, more sustainable planet. I believe that change is doable, if all of us are involved.
In what kind of projects do you wish to get involved in the future?
C.P: I would like to take my drive for a sustainable future and my love for shooting photos, a step further. In case I could cover humanitarian projects in different corners of the globe, as a photographer, that would be ideal. I want to experience first-hand the situation in developing communities of the world. I dream of documenting to what extent humanitarian action is actually implemented.