Marianna V. Vardinoyannis

United Nations “Nelson Mandela Prize 2020” Laureate

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis is a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, founder and president of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”, of the “ELPIDA (HOPE) Friends’ Association of Children with cancer” and of the “Orama ELPIDAS” Association.

Inspired by motherhood, she has built up an extensive record of humanitarian work for the benefit of children and disadvantaged social groups in Greece and abroad, as well as on issues of peace, education, health and cultural heritage. She struggles against human trafficking, exploitation of children, illiteracy, climate change and other issues of today’s concern.

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis work through her foundation aims to contribute to the building of a better world for the children, fighting human trafficking, illiteracy, climate change and many other issues of today’s concern. On the same time, through the Foundation’ s Programs, she supports children and families of disadvantaged social groups, refugees and schools.

As the president of “ELPIDA (HOPE) Friends’ Association of Children for more than 25 years Marianna V. Vardonoyannis is fighting against childhood cancer. She has established the first pediatric bone marrow transplant unit in Greece, thanks to which 860 children from Greece and neighboring countries have been saved until today, she has founded the first oncology pediatric hospital and the first bank of bone marrow donor volunteers in Greece, and undertook a number of initiatives to help sick children and their families.

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis supports many educational institutions in Greece, Europe and USA and sponsored the creation of the Centre for Hellenistic Studies in the Library of Alexandria. She also supports UNESCO’s programs on education and culture in many parts of the world, and promotes the implementation of the UN development goals.

As a Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, Mrs Vardinoyannis cooperates with many organizations, foundations and non-governmental organizations at national and international level. Under all these partnerships, she participates in forums and conferences as speaker or participant, as well as at charity gala international and European meetings and forums.

The work of Marianna V. Vardinoyannis is internationally recognized and she has received many accolades, awards and medals: Gold Cross of Benefaction Order the Greek Republic, Academy of Athens Award, Lady Patriarchate of Alexandria, Knight and Officer of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic, the Grand Prize of the Paris Charter against cancer, the “Ripple of Hope” award from «Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights» Foundation, etc.


Marianna V. Vardinoyannis’ action at UNESCO


Marianna V. Vardinoyannis ‘ action at Association of Friends of Children with cancer “ELPIDA” and “ORAMA ELPIDAS”.


Mrs. Vardinoyannis is member of the board of many international organizations and co-operates with several NGOs around the world.


Marianna V. Vardinoyannis ‘ action through her foundation aims to built better world for the children, the future of humanity.


Marianna V. Vardinoyannis’ national and international work was awarded many times


Publications signed by the President Marianna V. Vardinoyannis

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis was born and lives in Athens.
She is married to Admiral Vardis J. Vardinoyannis, Chairman of Motor Oil Hellas.

She is the mother of five children.

Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO (1999-present)


Founder and President of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” (

Founder and President of the Friends’ Association for Children with Cancer “ELPIDA” (

Founder and President of the “Orama ELPIDAS” Association (


  • President of the Honorary Committee of the Anniversary Year “Thermopylae – Salamis 2020”  (
  • Member of the Board of Trustees  of Bibliotheca Alexandrina (2002-2008)
  • Member of the  Advisory Board of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina  (2008-present) (
  • Founder and Honorary President of the Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies (2008-present)


  • Member of the Board of Trustees of MENTOR International Foundation


  • Member of the Board of Directors of “Nizami Ganjavi International Center“


  • Member of the Leadership Council of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights”


  • Member of the Leadership Council of Concordia

  • Member of the Board of Directors of The Hellenic Initiative

  • Member of the International Committee of the “Foundation for a Culture for Peace”


  • Member of the President’s Council of the Special Olympics “Europe-Eurasia”
  • President of the Honorary Committee of the Special Olympics Hellas (
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (2007-2010) (
  • Member of the Women Leaders´ Council of the UN.Glοbal Initiative to fight Human Trafficking


PhD/ΜPhil in Archaeology (University of Sheffield-UK)

BA in History of Art (Deree –The American College of Greece)

BA in Economics (University of Denver-USA)

Ηonorary Doctorate of the School Health and Science of the University of Athens (2019)

Honorary Doctorate of the Tbilisi State Medical University (2016)

Hοnorary Doctorate (University of Georgia (2011)

Honorary Doctorate in Humanities (DEREE- The American College of Greece, 2010)

Honorary Degree in Philosophy (London Metropolitan University, 2008)

Honorary Doctorate in Laws (University of Sheffield, 1997)

Greek, English, French.