Marianna V. Vardinoyannis

Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, President of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, is a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO for the protection of children, founder and president of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”, of the “ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with cancer” and of the “Orama Elpidas Association”. She has built up an extensive record of humanitarian work for the benefit of children and disadvantaged social groups in Greece and abroad, as well as on issues of peace, human rights, education, health and cultural heritage.

She serves as member of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Advisory Board, as Trustee of the MENTOR Foundation against drugs, as member of the Leadership Council of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights”, as member of the Board of Directors of the “Nizami Ganjavi International Center”, as founding member of the “Light of Africa Foundation”, as President of the Honorary Committee of the Special Olympics Hellas, and many other organizations. She holds BA in History of Art and in Economics, MPhil in Archaeology as well as Honorary Doctorates in Laws, Philosophy and Human Studies.

The “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” supports children and families, schools, people in need and refugees in Greece as well as UNESCO programs for education and culture in several parts of the world, promoting the United Nations Development Goals. It co-operates with the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” bringing the “Speak Truth to Power” program, on the human rights education, in the Greek schools.

Mrs. Vardinoyannis has supported many educational institutions in Greece and in other countries. She founded and funded the “Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies” at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, the establishment of the “Chair of the Greek immigrants” and the "Ioannis P. Vardinoyannis" Library at the New York University in the USA, of the “Constantine Karamanlis Chair for the Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies” at the Tufts University in the USA, of theMunicipal Indoors Athletics Centre -George and Evangelia Bournaki" in Ermioni-Greece, of the Kindergarten of Agios Nikolaos in the Municipality of Ano Liossia, in Athens-Greece and many others. She is behind the revival and rebuilt of Makistos, the village close to Ancient Olympia, that was destroyed by fire in 2007.

For more than 27 years, she is fighting against childhood cancer through the “ELPIDA Association” and due to this work thousands of children from Greece and the Mediterranean region are saved from cancer, including 900 children who had the possibility to receive bone marrow transplant at the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of ELPIDA in Greece since 1993. She created the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital in Greece, which receives the 80% of childhood cancer in Greece and has been affiliated with important hospitals of other countries, and she established the Bone Marrow Donor Registry “Orama Elpidas”.

She has granted the rank of the Officer of the Legion d' Honneur of the French Republic (2015), the rank of the Chevalier of the Legion d' Honneur of the French Republic (2006), the “Mother Teresa Medal” of the Albanian Republic (2015), the “Golden Cross of the Order of Benefaction” of the Hellenic Republic (2002), the Office of the Great Lady of the Patriarchal Throne of St. Mark (Patriarchate of Alexandria, 2008) and she has received many distinctions such as the Ripple of Hope Award of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” (2015), the Grand Prix de la Charte de Paris contre le cancer-AVEC (2014), the Pro Bono Humanum - Prix Galien Greece (2013), the Athens Academy Award (1997) and many others.