The announcement was made by Dr. Mariam Jashi, who came to Greece as representative of the “Solidarity Fund of Georgia” together with Professor Ivane Chkhaidze, representative of “Iashvili Children’s Central Hospital” in Tbilisi in order to sign the collaboration agreement between these two institutions and the ELPIDA Foundation together with the Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital as part of the EPIDA twinning programme.
The signing of this new collaboration took place on 14th July 2016 in the Children’s Oncology Unit ‘Marianna V. Vardinoyannis – ELPIDA’
Dr. Jashi and Professor Chkhaidze accompanied the Ambassador of Georgia in Greece, Mr. Ioseb Nanobashvili, who prompted the collaboration between these institutions, to the children’s Oncology Unit where they were welcomed by the President of the ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis and the Director of the Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, Mr. Manolis Papasavvas.
“We welcome you, Mrs Vardinoyannis said, as special friends of ELPIDA and as our new partners. I am feeling deeply touched because today, a vision that we shared with His Excellency the Ambassador of Georgia Mr. Joseb Nanobashvili is coming true: Georgia will participate in our “Affiliations Program” and this fact fills our heart with great happiness and honour. From the first time that Ambassador Nanobashvili visited our facilities he believed in our work and he supported it with great enthusiasm. Because of his tireless efforts, we are signing this agreement today and at the same time we create a bridge of friendship and solidarity between Georgia and Greece. The aim of our “Affiliations Program” is that one day, no child will have to travel abroad in order to be saved, but it will stay next to its family and friends throughout all the hard period of therapy. We believe that technology and science can eliminate the borders among the countries and we must use this advantage in order to win the fight against cancer. For this reason, I am confident that joint efforts against childhood cancer can create a platform of peace, dialogue and solidarity among peoples. Today, we are feeling deeply honoured to place the flag of Georgia on the “Map of Peace and Hope”, which is designed in order to be a symbolic reminder of our alliances against childhood cancer. The flags of Turkey, Canada, the U.S.A., Israel, The Netherlands, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Serbia and Egypt proudly stand there representing our affiliation with very important children hospitals around the world. At the same time we are working for more additions like Morocco, Albania, Qatar, the United Kingdom, Spain and other countries. Greece and Georgia share a long lasting friendship and I truly hope that the agreement between our hospitals will contribute even more to this strong alliance”.
The Ambassador of Georgia in Greece, Mr. Ioseb Nanobashvili, thanked Mrs. Vardinoyannis for the warm welcome and for her kind words adding: “The distinguishing feature of Mrs Vardinoyannis is that she goes beyond the call of duty wherever needed. The people who work at this hospital save lives and there is no greater duty than this. The Association founded by Marianna Vardinoyannis has also been saving lives for the last 25 years and we recently celebrated this important event. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank Mrs Vardinoyannis for her amazing achievements and tireless efforts. Today, the two institutions join forces for the common social good. I wish every success on both sides and to my mind success means more than saving more lives. The most important thing is to provide hope. Furthermore, as Mrs. Vardinoyannis herself said, this collaboration builds bridges between two countries and two peoples and I am more than convinced that this collaboration will greatly aid the forging of ties between the two democracies of Greece and Georgia”.
Dr. Mariam Jashi then continued by also wishing for a successful collaboration between the institutions of both Greece and Georgia. She then went on to announce that on the decision of the Academic Council of the Tbilisi State Medical University and with the signatory approval of the Dean of the University, Mrs Vardinoyannis had been nominated honorary doctorate of the university for her international work and her contribution to children. She then presented Mrs Vardinoyannis with the honorary degree.
Mrs Vardinoyannis was clearly very moved by this gesture and went on to say: “This is a truly unexpected honour for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I believe that it is our duty to do everything within our power to help children and this honorary degree has given me even greater strength and courage to continue my efforts”.
Dr. Mariam Jashi and Professor Ivane Chkhaidze were then awarded honorary plaques by the ELPIDA Association for their contribution to its work. While the Georgian Ambassador was presented with the statue of ELPIDA to commemorate this important day. The two delegations then exchanged commemorative gifts.