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Keynote Remarks: UNESCO Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis | Mainstage

Marianna Vardinoyannis, Goodwill Ambassador, UNESCO; Concordia Leadership Council Member

Marianna Vardinoyannis, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, highlighted the key pillars of our global culture, including peace, democracy, human rights, diversity, development, science, and innovation, among others. The COVID-19 pandemic, she stated, has exacerbated inequalities in society. Looking forward, Vardinoyannis stressed the importance of 2021, commenting that civil society is expecting brave decisions from world leaders during the UN General Assembly. Now is the time to re-embrace global solidarity, to engage with youth in a meaningful and effective way, and to empower global education through skills, training, and lifelong learning, she argued. 

Initiatives like UNESCO’s Open Science, which is aimed at achieving shared knowledge and bridging the gap between science and innovation across countries, can make a real difference. Vardinoyannis closed by saying that global culture is our collective force, citing Nelson Mandela’s words, “Our society needs to re-establish a culture of caring.” 

The pandemic brought humanity face to face with great inequalities. It threatened our world but it never erased hope from our hearts.

Marianna Vardinoyannis

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • 2021 is a crucial year for humanity, with attention on world leaders to make brave decisions.