At a modest but symbolic ceremony at the Town Hall of Ermioni, and in the presence of the President of the Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the first “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Cultural Awards” were awarded on Saturday, 4 August 2018.
The Municipality of Ermionida, recognizing the vast contribution of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis both to Culture as well as Humanity, decided to establish this annual tradition starting this year whereby persons or institutions will be honoured who, through their activities, have contributed to the promotion of Culture at national or local level.
The “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Cultural Award” for 2018 was awarded to Professor of Archaeology at the University of Crete and internationally renowned archaeologist, Mr. Nikolaos Stampoulides, for his contribution to promoting our cultural heritage, as well as to the “Ermioni Association” for its contribution to showcasing the traditions and culture of Ermioni.
The awards were handed out by the President of the Republic who, in his speech, spoke of a particularly important initiative whose goal is to defend our culture. “Especially in current critical and difficult times of man’s great tribulation – and not only in our country but also internationally – the protection of Culture, and especially our own – Greek Culture – represents an outstanding duty. I would say an existential duty primarily, for the progress of our People and our Nation. And we, the Greeks, have every reason to consider defending our culture a National Priority which, through the invaluable contribution of the Ancient Greek Spirit, represents a fundamental pillar of the whole of Western civilization, indeed of modern European Culture”, Mr. Pavlopoulos characteristically stated.
Accepting the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Cultural Award”, Mr. Stampoulides spoke of a great honour, as he characteristically stated, borrowing a phrase by English poet Philip Sydney, “It is great happiness to be praised of them who are most praiseworthy.”
The “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Cultural Award” for the “Ermioni Association” was received by its President, Mr Giannis Spetsiotis. “We feel proud to receive, from your hands, this great distinction, which bears the name of our fellow citizen, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis. At the same time, however, we see our duties and our obligations growing stronger. Now, in addition to our contribution, we must be present every day and give our best selves to ideas and projects of responsibility so that culture, in all its forms, can live and breathe in every corner of Ermioni and the Municipality of Ermionida. For a future that is more humane, more optimistic, for a life that is civilised and happy”, said Mr. Spetsiotis.
The Mayor of Ermionida, Mr. Dimitrios Sfyris for his part…..
The President of the Municipal Community of Ermioni
Visibly touched by the great honour reserved for her by the people of her home town, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis congratulated the award winners and made extensive reference to the strong ties linking her to her home town. “I bow in humility before this place, its historical memory, its splendour and its people. I feel deep gratitude for this great honour bestowed upon me through the adoption of the annual Cultural Awards, which are established as of this year. I cannot find enough words to express my thanks to the founders of this tradition for their initiative and, in particular, to the President of the Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, who placed the Awards under his auspices and is with us today. I would like to thank him from my heart for being present at such an important moment for Ermioni, and for wholeheartedly supporting the effort whose primary objective is to promote our culture and commendable individuals or organisations which contribute to this through their important work”, said Mrs. Vardinoyannis, among other things.
Wishing to honour her birthplace, and on the occasion of the “Cultural Awards”, Mrs. Vardinoyannis announced that, through the Foundation bearing the same name, as of 2019, two scholarships shall be established which will pertain to outstanding graduates from Argolida, for postgraduate studies in the field of Archaeology and in the field of Fine Arts. At the same time, Mrs. Vardinoyannis expressed her interest in the creation of a new Museum dedicated to the history of Ermioni.
At the beginning of the ceremony, everybody in attendance observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the recent deadly fire while, as with all events that take place, in the presence of the President of the Republic, a memorial reference was made to the fire victims in Mati.