A special event with an international air, attended by women ambassadors and ambassadors’ spouses from 36 countries of the world and another 200 successful and active women from Greece and abroad, was held by the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation on  8 March 2018,  to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

The event aimed to highlight the achievements of great women who made history, as well as the importance of the universal and complex role of every woman in modern society. The honoured guest at the event was Sissy Pavlopoulou, spouse of the President of the Hellenic Republic, who was presented with an award by the host, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, as a way of honouring all women who “humbly struggle in their own way every day for recognition as celebrities, as mothers, as scientists, as professionals and as spouses.”

That was the message that Marianna V. Vardinoyannis delivered in her address: “As times become increasingly difficult, women’s view of things emerges as the surest way to a fairer and better world. The existence of gifted women fighting for change and betterment fills us with courage and hope. It provides inspiration and encouragement. And today we stand with them. We remember and honour the pioneering women who made history: visionaries, fighters, heroines, women dedicated to a greater purpose, talented writers and artists, with faith in humanity and in God. We wanted to share with you their wisdom, to recall their words, because only by honouring the past can one build a better future. But today we also honour each and every woman struggling in the harsh world we live in, through adversity, wars, deprivation and violence.”

Mrs Pavlopoulou emotionally received the award from the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, offering her deepest thanks and raising the difficult issue facing women who are trying to balance motherhood and a career: “I hope that we can leave the valuable legacy we inherited from those who preceded us manyfold for women who will come into the world after us. Today, I would like to speak about a very special woman who unfortunately has not been born yet. She is the one we would like to bring into the world, but we don’t. We don’t, because we have placed our priorities elsewhere. And unfortunately, more and more of us have devalued our most human capacity: that of motherhood. To give life to humans and to raise them is in our nature. We have a great many capacities, many strengths, and many roles to play. But nothing will ever fill our hearts and our lives as much as our children. Let each of us, from where she stands, do what we must in order to bring into the world women like Marie Curie, Indira Gandhi, Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai, Maria Callas, Mother Teresa and so many others who changed the world for the better.”

Others sending their own messages for International Women’s Day and the work of Mrs Vardinoyannis at the event included: former Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou; the president of LAASA, Karin Liebaut from Belgium, representing women ambassadors and ambassadors’ spouses in Greece; the honorary president of the Women’s International Club-Athens, Mirna Toubassi of Palestine, who spoke on behalf of women from other countries living and working in Greece; Marina Karella, president of the Eliza Society for Prevention of Child Abuse; the Mayor of Mandra, Ioanna Kriekouki, who said that many of the challenges she has faced were due to her being a woman, and publicly thanked Mrs Vardinoyannis for the prompt and wholehearted support of the citizens of Mandra and herself personally; journalist Eleni Bistika; the president of the Hellenic Senologic Society, Lydia Ioannidou-Mouzaka; and Judge Dimitra Yfanti.

The event included an enjoyable musical interlude featuring internationally renowned composer and pianist Stefanos Korkolis, singer Sofia Manousaki, and sopranos Eleni Voudouraki and Anastasia Zanni, accompanied on the piano by Benjamin Chatzikoumparoglou.