Beloved UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and philanthropist, Marianna Vardinoyannis, dies
"With the deepest sadness, the family of Vardis I. Vardinoyannis announces that beloved wife, mother, and grandmother Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Ambassador of Goodwill, President of the Elpida Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, died on Monday, July 24th, 2023. The funeral and burial will be held privately," the statement said.
Marianna V. Vardinogianni, through many years of active social participation, worked towards a broad humanitarian goal, inspired by motherhood and anchored in providing for children, vulnerable social groups and vulnerable individuals in Greece and abroad. At the same time, she also dedicated herself to the protection of human rights, the promotion of a culture of peace, education, health, climate change, culture and the protection of cultural heritage.
In particular, the work of Vardinogianni and her foundation aimed to, among other goals, combat human trafficking and the exploitation of children, the elimination of illiteracy, the protection of the environment and the confrontation of many other modern challenges. All this was done with the ultimate aim of creating a better world for the next generation, the humanity’s tomorrow.
At the same time, her foundation, through the programs it implemented, supported children and families of vulnerable social groups, schools across Greece and refugees.
Vardinogianni also sought to fight against childhood cancer for more than 25 years.
Through her work in the “ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with cancer”, she founded the first Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece, which has saved more than 860 children from Greece and neighboring countries. She was also instrumental in the creation of the “ELPIDA” Home , the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital, and the first Volunteer Bone Marrow Donor Bank in Greece. She also undertook a series of initiatives aimed at helping sick children and their families.
Vardinogiannis also supported many educational institutions in Greece, Europe and the USA.
She was the founder and sponsor of the Center for Hellenistic Studies at the Library of Alexandria and also supported UNESCO’s education and culture programs in many parts of the world, promoting the implementation of the UN’s development goals.
Marianna Vardinogianni as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, as President of the “Marianna V. Vardinogianni Foundation”, the “ELPIDA” Association and the “ORAMA ELPIDAS” Association, collaborated with many institutions, foundations, and non-governmental organizations at both the national and international level.
Within the framework of all these collaborations, additionally to the many events she organized through her foundations, she participated in several conferences as a speaker or panelist. She also was present at charity events, as well as international and European meetings and campaigns.
The work of Marianna V. Vardinogianni is internationally recognized and she has received many honorary titles and awards such as: Golden Cross of the Order of Eupoia of the Hellenic Republic, the Academy of Athens Prize, the Archon of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, Knight and Officer of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic, Grand Prize of the Charter of Paris against Cancer, the “Ripple of Hope” prize awarded by the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” Foundation, and others.
Marianna Vardinoyannis was married to oil and shipping magnate Vardis Vardinoyannis, and had 5 children, as well as several grandchildren.
She was 86 years old.
(A detailed biography of her life and activities may be found on the Elpida site, in English, https://elpida.org/en/mvv-en/)
Messages of condolences were sent to the family by President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, and former President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.