The “Pancretan Association of Athens*” honoured the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the “ELPIDA” Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, in a special event that took place at the Grande Bretagne Hotel on Wednesday, 9th of March 2011. The event was organized on the occasion of the International Women’s Day and its proceeds were donated to the “ELPIDA” Association of Friends of Children with Cancer.The event opened with a speech by the President of the Pancretan Association of Athens, Mr George Maridakis, who awarded an honorary distinction to Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, saying:
“ In order to honour all Women, we chose to honour an eminent woman who has been carrying out a unique, national, social and charitable work for many years; Who has dedicated her life and activities to helping those that are in need, to soothing the pain of the people who suffer: the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the “ELPIDA” Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis; Our fellow Cretan, who is always by our side with her support as well as the support of her husband, our dear Vardis. The cultural movement of our special homeland, Crete, owes them a lot!”
The distinction was accompanied by an honorary diploma and a sculpture of a mother sheltering her children created by the sculptress Eleni Tzifaki.
Having thanked the President, the Board of Trustees and the members of the Pan-Cretan Association for the great honour she was bestowed as well as for the kind initiative of the Pan-Cretan Association to support the work of the “ELPIDA” Association, Mrs Vardinoyannis went on to say:
“ my grandfather was born in Crete and settled in Leonidion of Kynouria province. My family ties with this place are unbreakable, their roots are deep and always in our thoughts, our hearts and within our priorities both mine and my husbands, as well as our children’s Crete is always in my heart and, throughout my life, it has been a place of inspiration and creativity due to its rich history, traditions, natural beauty, unique monuments, the heroism of its inhabitants throughout the ages and the authentic character it preserves looking towards the future. Crete is a part of our country which makes our homeland proud all over the world with its history!… I feel great admiration for its culture, which is why I devoted 4 years of my post-graduate studies in archaeology and 2 years in writing my book on the role of women in the Minoan period. Having done this research, I feel even more proud as a woman of Crete I close with the wish that our beloved Crete keeps to its special course, as protector and articulator of this unique civilization and keeps on being the land of true patriots!”
Then, Mrs Vardinoyannis offered her book “Labouring with the Challenges of Female Identity: Insights into Minoan Society”to Mr Maridakis, for the Association’s library.
The event closed with the impressive Cretan dancers of the Manolis Pattakos “Kourites” Folk Dance Group and the musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Manolis Chamogiorgakis and Giorgos Papoutsakis who performed traditional Cretan dances and songs for the guests.
*The “Pancretan Association of Athens” one of the biggest cultural associations of Greece with 80,000 members, and it represents about 500,000 emigrant Cretes that live in Attiki.