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Dr. Marianna Vardinoyannis

Goodwill Ambassador, Goodwill Ambassador, UNESCO; Founder & President, Marianna Vardinoyannis Foundation

Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis has been a world advocate and campaigner for human rights and the protection of children’s health and welfare. She is Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO since 1999 and she has dedicated her life to save young lives from cancer and protect their innocence from various threats. She is 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 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 Trustee 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.

She created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece (in 1993) and the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital in Greece (in 2010) which receives the 80% of childhood cancer cases of the country. For more than 30 years, she is fighting against childhood cancer through “ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with cancer” and helped thousands of children to be saved, including 1000 children who got the possibility to receive bone marrow transplants. She also established the Bone Marrow Donor Registry “Orama Elpidas” (in 2014) registering more than 60.000 volunteer bone marrow donors (data as for January 2018).

Through the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” she supports children and families, schools, people in need and refugees in Greece as well as UNESCO programs for education and culture, promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She organized many international conferences and campaigns for social awareness on crucial issues of our times. She launched the “Speak Truth to Power” program in Greece, a program of “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” Center, for the promotion of the human rights education in the Greek Schools.

In 2016 she launched the “Welcoming Cities for the Refugees” international program in co-operation with UNESCO and the “European Coalition of Cities against Racism” and in 2015 the “WE CARE” program providing medical care to refugee children in Greece.

She supported: the exhibition of photography on the World Cultural Heritage in Venice-Italy and at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York (2002), education of girls in Gaza (2009), the international Festival for the World Day of Cultural Diversity held at UNESCO (2008), the first International Workshop on the prevention and handling of dangers from natural disasters on World Heritage monuments in Ancient Olympia, Greece (2008). She organised conferences and exhibitions, such as the International Conference “Women in the Service of Peace” held at UNESCO (2004), the Painting Exhibition of women artists from the Islamic World with the title “Breaking the Veil” at UNESCO Headquarters held under the auspices of H.M. Queen Rania of Jordan, the exhibition “Parthenon: The Unity of a Unique Monument” at the UNESCO Headquarters (2003), and many other.