On the occasion of his visit to Athens on June 17, 2016, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and his wife Ban Soon-taek had a private meeting with Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO.
During their meeting they discussed the “We Care” program of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation which provides medical assistance, vaccines, personal hygiene items, and food to refugee children hosted in refugee camps in Athens, Lesvos and other parts of Greece.They also discussed future initiatives of the Foundation, based on the priorities of the United Nations and UNESCO, including the International Meeting of Experts on Refugees, which is to be held in November 2016 in Athens, organized by the Foundation, in collaboration with UNESCO and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism.
Following the meeting, the D ’02 alumna, distinguished globally for her philanthropic work, said, “It is a very important and symbolic visit of the United Nations’ Secretary General in our country. It sends a strong message of solidarity and humanism from Greece to the whole world.”
As a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, Marianna Vardinoyannis shares bonds of friendship and co-operation with the Secretary-General and his wife, and within the framework of the Mr. Ban’s official visit to Greece in 2009, Mrs. Ban visited the guesthouse of the ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, which is presided by our alumna, to express her support and solidarity.
For her continued work in promoting human rights and protecting vulnerable people, in December 2015 our alumna was also presented the Ripple of Hope award by the founder of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Ethel Kennedy.
In her many years of humanitarian work, Marianna Vardinoyannis has created the first children’s oncology hospital in Greece, a surgery center at a hospital in Kosovo, a kindergarten in Serbia, and the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. She has also adopted the Makistos village which was destroyed by fire, and funded its restoration. The alumna has campaigned against the sexual abuse of children and to eradicate pedophilia on the internet. She has also worked with experts to protect civilians during armed conflicts, and help build a culture of peace and solidarity.
Marianna Vardinogianni’s vision and initiatives for children’s health, especially battling childhood cancer, have saved the lives of more than 860 children.
For more information, please visit the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation.
Originally published in the The American College of Greece alumni e-magazine, issue #37.