Athens, 17 November 2020

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis: Even in the deepest darkness, there is light. (There is) Hope! 

Miltiadis Varvitsiotis: The round of discussions of the Greek Presidency opened with Science and closes with Hope!

“We must never give up. Even in the deepest darkness, there is light. (There is) Hope”. This was the strong message of hope, conveyed by the international Greek woman with the great work in the fields of humanity, education, culture and human rights, Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, on the occasion of the completion of the Greek Presidency of the European Council.

The cycle of online discussions “In Discussion with…” closed with Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, successfully organized by the Greek Presidency of the European Council, chaired by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the European Council Mr. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis. The Minister quoted that “along with Mrs. Vardinoyannis we are sending the message of hope“.

The discussion was moderated by the editor-in-chief of Alpha TV, Mrs. Lora Ioannou.

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis: Legacy, the wave of solidarity

Mrs. Vardinoyannis stressed that the respect for life and health is in fact respect for human himself, adding that this is not just a legal obligation, but a moral duty of human solidarity, which must be respected by all, citizens and the State. Emphasizing the issue of solidarity, she pointed out that “this pandemic can only be tackled collectively, with solidarity and caring for our neighbour. If there is one thing we need to keep from this great adventure as a legacy, it is precisely this wave of solidarity that has developed“.

In the same context, she noted the need for international cooperation, which is urgent at this time for the discovery of a vaccine on the one hand, and on the other, for its free distribution to everyone, making special reference to the relevant international appeals that she has co-signed with Heads of state and Nobel laureates. “If these are not done, then the vaccine will be a privilege for the few. This is the message of this crisis. We are all together in this. The pandemic does not discriminate in any way“.

Answering a question about the attitude of young people towards the restriction of their rights, Mrs. Vardinoyannis described what we ask of young people as hard and painful, but clarified that she believes a lot in the new generation and that she constantly notes their great sensitivity to human rights through the actions and the programs of her Foundation. “I think we need a spark to mobilize them, a spark of solidarity and humanity. We saw that in March, not only the young people, but the whole Greek society succeeded. We can do it now!” she commented.

At the same time, she expressed her fear that the most tragic consequence of the pandemic, after the human lives that are lost every day, is that millions of children around the world are left out of school, especially those belonging to the lower social groups. “We have a great responsibility not to allow a ‘lost generation’ to be created” she said, stressing that the issue must be addressed globally and that new effective ways of educating must be found. “We must all work together, as societies, so that isolation does not become alienation. Through the pandemic, essential human relationships must emerge stronger. And for that we must all work together, young and old“. Finally, after making a special reference to Nelson Mandela, who has always been a shining example for her, she stressed that what matters is that our lives and freedoms return fully to the level they were before the pandemic. And she expressed the certainty that this will happen to our country.

Miltiadis Varvitsiotis: Marianna V. Vardinoyannis embodies hope!  

Mr. Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Deputy Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the European Council, stressed in his greeting that Mrs. Vardinoyannis, in addition to her important distinctions for her humanitarian work (United Nations Nelson Mandela Prize, Grand Cross of the Order of Beneficence of the Hellenic Republic, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1999) “is above all a human, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, who has dedicated her life to giving hope to thousands of families. She has managed, starting from scratch, to organize something unprecedented in the history of Greece, the anti-cancer protection of the childlen in our country“.   

The Deputy Foreign Minister also said that “for this reason, the Greek Presidency of the European Council has chosen to complete the cycle of online discussions “In discussion with…” with her as the last guest, as we could not find a person who embodies hope and the excess of love and heart as much as she does. Because Hope is what accompanies us and to which we all resort in every difficult time, I think it is very important to close this circle by sending the message of hope through the words of Mrs. Vardinoyannis“. He even clarified that this round of discussions, which closes with Hope, had started with Science, as the first episode hosted the Greek epidemiologist Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, followed by other brilliant and prestigious personalities from all over the world, who spoke online here in Athens, joining their concerns (Bernard-Henri Levy, Frank Snowden, Josiah Ober, Benjamin Haddad, Efi Vagena, Victoria Hislop, Nicholas Christakis, Luciano Floridi). Mr. Varvitsiotis warmly thanked these guests, because, with their help, he opened a large and very wide discussion within the Greek Presidency, using technology.