On June 4th, 2010, at the Athens College Theatre, in Psychico, an event was realised aiming at the promotion of the 1GOAL: Education for All campaign. The people present at the event sent a sound symbolic message to the world leaders: No child should find the door of a school closed!
Everyone signed the petition, that all the children worldwide should have access to education up to 2015. The Prime Minister of our country, Mr George Papandreou, was the first who signed the petition even if he could not be present at the event; however, he sent a message of support, officially placing the Greek State by the side of the international campaign 1GOAL: Education for All. The campaign aims at collecting as many signatures as possible and submitting them to the General Assembly of the United Nations in September as a driving force for educating all children around the world by 2015, i.e. achieving one of the 8 Millennium Development Goals the set by the United Nations.
The presence and signature were given by the Ministers, Anna Diamantopoulou and Spyros Kouvelis, the Leader of the Greek National Team, Giorgos Karagounis, the President of the Greek Football Federation (EPO), Sophocles Pilavios, the General Manager of the Greek Super League Board, Patrick Komninos, many veteran footballers such as Aristeidis Kamaras, Antonis Antoniadis, Dimitris Loukanidis, Vasilis Tsartas, Totis Filakouris, Vaggelis Panakis, Stelios Serafidis, etc.; the Olympic champions Pyrros Dimas and Voula Patoulidou, the director Yannis Smaragdis, well known actors and singers such as Alkisti Protopsalti, Petros Filippidis, Costas Arzoglou, Helen Rantou, Panagiotis Mpougiouris, Katerina Lechou, Petros Lagoutis and many others. Also, support for the campaign was expressed through a video recorded message by Nana Mouskouri, Sakis Rouvas, Spyros Papadopoulos, Otto Rehhagel, Gilberto Silva, Djibril Cisse, Alexandros Tzorvas, Sotiris Ninis and Takis Fyssas, who could not be present.
The event was organised under the initiative of the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, and the President of ActionAid Greece, Mrs Alexandra Mitsotaki, who promote the international campaign 1GOAL: Education for All in our country, in collaboration with the Greek Football Federation (ΞPO) and the Greek Super League.
Mrs Vardinoyannis opened the event with a short speech, who, inter alia, stated: When we deprive a child from the right to go to school, it is like closing the door of living to them; because education is the wings that will let them fly free, away from poverty, degrading or violence, to the paths of creation… As a Goodwill Ambassador, I have been working since 2000, along with my colleagues in UNESCO, for the Education for All Programme. I can, therefore, assure you about the impressive results of an organised campaign. In all these years, we had the pleasure to see 40 million more children going to school. However, this is not enough! The fight continues. This is why we are here tonight! So to dynamically support the 1Goal campaignβ¦ In this fight, neither ActionAid nor we are alone or very few. From now on, however, I am absolutely certain that we will become many indeed, since so many idols of youth and model personalities sign along us for the 1Goal petition. We sign! In Greece that we want to be first! And we will achieve it.
The announcement of another very important campaign that Mrs Vardinoyannis decided to promote was welcomed with a particular sense and a warm applause: “I believed, she said, that as a people we have the power to resist being carried away from the turbine of facts; not staying simply spectators to our fate; observers of the distortion of our countrys image; an image composed by our culture and our humanism throughout the centuries. We can and must react positively. I am determined to do it and I will do it! I will not spare labours and efforts. I will mobilise my homeland and all those whom I know! Those who know and appreciate my action. Those who collaborate with me. I will call them in Greece. I will ask them to help us, to support us with their presence, with their statements, with their prestige and acquaintances. Not because they feel sorry for us, but because we deserve it.
In fact, through my institutional role and my mission in UNESCO, in the Annual Meeting of all the Goodwill Ambassadors, that will take place in June, I intend to mobilise all my colleagues, to stand by our side, who, after so many years of collaboration, they already love and appreciate our homeland. I will also speak with the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova. I am asking you to do the same. Each one of you and all together, I am asking you to create a large wave of citizens, not to protest, but to create creating, which will fight to change the image of Greece! An equally important action that I personally consider as a direct priority and objective is the support of people in hardship. And those in hardship are plenty today! I call you all to join our forces and support these vulnerable groups! The heart of Greece will never stop beating powerfully! And we will prove it.
Immediately afterwards, Mrs Alexandra Mitsotaki spoke on how valuable education is in every phase of peoples lives, and she told the audience her personal experiences she had with old women of Northern Ghana, who were learning how to write and read. Before I learn how to read, one of these women told her, I was blind as I could not read the signs, the boards and the banners. Since I learned how to read I feel like my sight has recovered. Before I learn how to write, another girl confessed, every time I had to sign, I was using a cross as my signature. Now that I know how to write my name, I also know that I exist.
Closing her speech Mrs Mitsotaki asked the participants to spread the message of the 1GOAL: Education for All campaign, i.e., to ask their relatives, friends and colleagues to sign the petition, not only to support the Campaign but also to show that we, the Greek people, are concerned.
In the event, greetings were addressed by Mrs Anna Diamantopoulou, Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, Mr Spyros Kouvelis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sophocles Pilavios, President of the Greek Football Federation, and Mr Patrick Komninos, General Manager of the Greek Super League Board, while a schoolteacher from the South Africa, Mr Musandiwe Humbulani, along with his student, Mpho Silige, unveiled their own reality.
The event was coordinated by the journalist Mpilio Tsoukala.
After the completion of the speeches, Mrs Tsoukala called the participants to sign in favour of the Campaign, by sending a mobile text to the number 54002*, and asked the politicians, footballers, athletes and artists to stand on the stage and to sign vocally.
The event closed with Diski Dance, the dance of World Cup, with the warm applause of the participants.