The 8th Educational Seminar for Teachers of the Speak Truth to Power Programme was successfully held at the NJV Athens Plaza Hotel on Monday 29 October 2019. The event was organised by the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, with the participation of 100 teachers and students from public and private schools across Greece.

The UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Foundation, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, welcomed the teachers and students from the public and private schools across Greece who participated in the Seminar to present the actions they have implemented.  The seminar was also attended by the Dean of the University of Athens, Professor Meletios-Athanasios Dimopoulos and the President of the Athens Democracy Forum, Mr. Achilleas Tsaltas, who both addressed the event.

Upon welcoming the participants, Mrs Vardinoyannis noted, “Whenever we meet, I cannot hide how touched I am and how much I admire the work you do, both teachers and students, who, thanks to your courage and dedication, have something different to show us each time. Every time, your imagination is a pleasant surprise, and I cannot but feel happy with this collaboration launched in 2013 between the Robert F. Kennedy Center in the USA and our Foundation. Kerry Kennedy herself, my dear friend and a great activist-supporter of human rights, who was the inspiration behind this entire program and who attended our previous Seminar and the Athens Democracy Forum event, believes strongly in Greek teachers and is particularly thrilled that you have responded so warmly to this program”. 

At the same time, Mrs. Vardinoyannis announced a series of educational actions to be implemented by the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation marking the 2500th anniversary of the Battles of Thermopaylae and Salamis, and more specifically: pan-Hellenic student conferences, essay and art competitions, as well as the artistic support and staging of the ancient tragedy “The Persians” by Aeschylus, organised by students.

Professor Meletios-Athanasios Dimopoulos, Dean of the University of Athens, noted in his address that:  “This program asks us to learn from the examples of modern human rights activists, to raise the awareness of the younger generation so they can put into practice that verse of the poet Palamas, that is, to see with the eyes of the soul and to find out what else we can do to build a society with humanity, peace and solidarity.”

Achilleas Tsaltas, President of the Athens Democracy Forum, spoke about a significant collaboration between the Athens Democracy Form and the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, saying: “The Athens Democracy Forum has embraced this Program.  I believe that the younger generation and human rights are at the core of the values of Democracy and that we have a lot to learn from the children.  I truly hope that this collaboration will not only be continued, but that it will expand to even more sectors”.

The representatives of the “Axion Hellas” non-profit organisation, Vasileios Pateras, President, and Foteini Biniou, Member and Responsible for the Training Programs of Axion Hellas, took the floor to speak about their activities in remote parts of Greece and the recent presentation that took place during the Athens Democracy Forum, with the participation of students from Athens College, the school of Kastelorizo and students of The Home Project.

After that, students and teachers from schools participating in the Programme had the chance to present their actions in detail, through imaginative and original activities, such as video projections, creative writing, documentaries, musical compositions and artworks.

The following schools presented their actions at the 8th Educational Seminar for Teachers:  Special School for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired of Agia Paraskevi, Costeas – Geitonas School CGS, Experimental Lyceum of University of Macedonia, College of Psychico, 1st High School of Kaisariani.

In brief, reference was made to a more inclusive world, with more emotional intelligence, progress and humanity, and with a right to education, where the voice of the young can change the world. 

A society with humanity and solidarity, where young heroes will be able to shape the future, as AXION HELLAS characteristically said.

A society where fear will not prevail in hearts and drive away kindness, and where we will view the loss of conscience as a defeat, according to the students of the Special School for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired of Agia Paraskevi.

A world where the global community will manage to address the roots of evil which uproot children from their homes and turn them into “others,” as the children from the Costeas-Geitonas Schools told us, as well as the students of the 1st High School of Kaisariani, who taught us to “wear love with pride.”

A world where human rights are not a fantasy but laws, according to the Experimental Lyceum of the University of Macedonia, and a society where modern man will bear the weight of his actions – a world which will not lead to chaos as it does today, as Foivos, a student from this school, sang to us.

We are also seeking a society where historical memory will become a source of national awareness and self-awareness in order to proceed towards a better future, a future where each one of us, from being a spectator, will turn into a defender of values and ideals, as the children of the College pointed out to us.

The Seminar was moderated by Mrs Ino Konstantopoulou, member of the Board of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, and Mrs Sofia Dartzali, the Foundation’s director of the Speak Truth to Power Educational Programme in Greece.

 The event was also attended by parents of students.

Note that the Educational Seminar is held twice a year to update teachers and foster the exchange of views regarding the implementation of the Speak Truth to Power Programme in Greek schools.

The Speak Truth to Power Programme is an innovative initiative of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation, taught to millions of students across the globe.  The Programme is based on the book by Mrs Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and is being taught in Greek schools at the initiative of Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis for the fourth year running, with many schools around Greece participating.  It is under the auspices of His Excellency the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr Prokopis Pavlopoulos, while it has also been approved by the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.  The Programme aims to familiarise the students with the concept of human rights from a young age, so that, as future citizens, they will be able to secure a better and fairer society.

The Programme is addressed to junior and senior high school teachers. For further information, visit: