Students from the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and Axion Hellas gave an interactive presentation in the presence of Mrs Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and President of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation, and UNESCO Good Will Ambassador Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis on Wednesday, 9 October 2019, at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art.
During the event, which was held on the occasion of the Athens Democracy Forum, two students from the Junior and Senior High School of Kastelorizo, Efraima and Nikolas, two students originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan, guests of THE HOME PROJECT, Tayebe and Alex, and two students from Athens College, Anna and Andreas, gave a presentation on human rights titled: “Consolidating the values of an inclusive society. Where are we from a moral standpoint?”
The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Foundation, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, welcomed the participants and in her speech she stressed: “It is a great privilege for us to take part once again in the Athens Democracy Forum, joining forces with Axion Hellas and Athens College, and to convey the values of Democracy, which, as Antonio Gutteres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, remarked, must be real in the lives of the people… Our Foundation is attempting to instil the values of equality, justice and equal treatment, in cooperation with teachers across Greece. We have faith in the younger generation. We trust them to create a better and fairer world.”
Mrs Kerry Kennedy warmly thanked both Mrs Vardinoyannis, for her practical support for the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme, and Axion Hellas, which conveys the values and ideals of the Programme to the remotest corners of our homeland, underscoring the importance of imparting to the younger generation the value of human rights: “If we don’t teach the younger generation the importance of an inclusive society and democratic values, then our future is at risk. I believe that we need to try to increase the emotional intelligence of the younger generation, so that we can be more optimistic about our future. This is exactly what the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme does.”
Immediately afterwards, the representatives of the non-profit organisation Axion Hellas, namely Vasilis Pateras, President of the Organisation, and Prince Nikolaos, Special Advisor to the Board, spoke about their actions in Greece’s remote areas in the context of the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme.
“I would like to thank Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis for everything that she does to help people improve their lives. I would also like to thank her and Mrs Kennedy for their trust,” said Prince Nikolaos in his speech.
“We are proud to transfer values and ideals to the most inaccessible areas of Greece through the work of Axion Hellas, and in doing so contribute towards creating a better society,” Vasilis Pateras pointed out.
Also present at the event was Annika Savill, Executive Head of the United Nations Democracy Fund, who stressed the importance of the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme: “It is a great honour for me to be here. Such initiatives are exactly what we need now more than ever. Unfortunately, we see that even to this day we have not achieved the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. Therefore, we must try even harder. And your work is exactly in this direction. Upon my return to the United Nations, I will provide a detailed account of your amazing work.”
Richard Jackson, President of Athens College, spoke in detail about the implementation of the Programme at Athens College and said the Programme will be taught to 2,000 student this year.
Then the six students, under the guidance of Dr. Iordanis Papadopoulos, the Social Sciences coordinator at Athens College, gave a detailed presentation of their actions in the context of the SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme.
In attendance were the Prime Minister’s wife, Mareva Mitsotakis, former Prime Minister George Papandreou, Giannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Merchant Maritime, Queen Anne-Marie, Prince Nikolaos, Achilleas Tsaltas, President of the Athens Democracy Forum, and many others.
The SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER Programme is an innovative programme on human rights by the “Robert G. Kennedy Human Rights” Foundation, which is taught to millions of pupils around the world. The programme is based on the book written by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and at the initiative of Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis it is being taught in Greek schools for the fourth consecutive year, with the participation of 150 schools throughout Greece. It is carried out under the auspices of His Excellency President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, with the approval of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. The Programme aims to familiarise pupils with the concept of human rights from a young age, in order for future citizens to ensure the creation of a better and fairer society.
The Programme is designed for Middle and High School teachers, and you can find more information on our website: