On 8 March 2011 to mark International Womens Day the AKMI Institute of Vocational Training (IEK AKMI) honoured the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Chairman of the ELPIDA Foundation,Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinogianni.The award was conferred on Mrs. Vardinogianni by IEK AKMI at a ceremony that the schools management team has been holding over recent years to confer distinctions on women who have made a mark on society and have written history in the fields of art, culture, politics, business and social contribution through their work and endeavours. It was the students of IEK AKMI who decided that the person of honour for 2011 would be Mrs. Vardinogianni.
The event was held at the Schools Odysseas Elytis Amphitheatre, attended by hundreds of students and the award was conferred on Mrs. Vardinogianni by the Chairman of IEK AKMIs Board of Directors, Mr. Konstantinos Rhodopoulos. He pointed out that this award is the least tribute one could pay to a woman who quite rightly has been dubbed by all the children she supports as a second mother and is the least recognition one could give to her more than 20 years of dedicated service to the great goal of protecting sick children.
When accepting the award Mrs. Vardinogianni made a short speech during which she said, … It is a great honour for me to receive an award from young people. From people who until today I did not even know and yet who are so familiar to me since we share the same vision about the present and future of our society. This sign of support for my efforts to create a better future means a lot to me. I have spent my entire life pursuing this vision. I thought it my debt to offer my fellow man something and to remain true to the expectations I had about building a better world when I was a student. When we are young, we believe we can change the world. I call upon all of you to never let anything change that. That is because even the smallest effort made with others towards achieving a solemn goal can make a massive difference. Your dreams, your goals and your principles must be the compass guiding the direction of your life. Never give up. Because above all you are healthy and strong! As young people you also have the advantage of hope for the future; coupled with a great education and proper guidance that is the very cornerstone of success.
The event was coordinated by the publisher, journalist and IEK AKMI teacher, Mr. Nikos Hatzinikolaou. Mrs. Vardinogianni publicly thanked him for his contribution over the years in supporting the initiatives of the ELPIDA Association in his own way and for his deep sensitivity to what the association stands for. She said that he is a model who inspires young people with its ethos and attitude towards life.