Marianna V. Vardinoyannis- Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur

The title of the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) of the French Republic was awarded to Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, in October 2006.

The decoration of Knight of the Legion of Honour is one of the highest honorary distinctions awarded by the French Republic to personalities of international prestige, as recognition of their significant work. Mrs. Vardinoyannis, whose humanitarian and social work is well-known in Greece and abroad, was very pleased and touched to accept this great honour.

The ceremony took place in the premises of the French Embassy, where the French Ambassador in Athens, Mr. Bruno Delaye, in the name of the President of the French Republic, awarded Mrs. Vardinoyannis and decorated her with the medal – the insignia of the Knights of the Legion of Honour.

The ceremony commenced with a speech given by the French Ambassador, who underlined that the French Republic honours Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, because she is:

A great Greek citizen

A great citizen of the world

A person who shares common values with France

A conscience and a soul, necessary as ever.

Addressing Mrs. Vardinoyannis, he also said:

“Yes, dear Marianna, you are, first of all, the personification of solidarity, that establishes the identity of your country, organises its social life and almost naturally creates great humanitarian personalities, whether in the family, the village, the island or the neighbourhood. You are indeed a great Greek lady due to your cordial devotion to issues concerning the education, peace and solidarity, health and fight against poverty, against discrimination and children exploitation, through the institutions that you have founded, through the numerous associations that you direct and through the goodwill network that you have developed here, in Greece as well as in the rest of the world. Yes, this fight is fed by your tireless efforts to help the dignity prevail over indifference and fatalism, to overcome a cumbersome and often irrational bureaucracy; you belong to the distinct few who never retreat in a fight. You are always present where help is absolutely necessary and demanded by the need of defenceless people… Thanks to your multiple activities within UNESCO, you are certainly citizen of the world, an exquisite Goodwill Ambassador with intense presence to the institutions of many international institutes, such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Foundation for the “Child and the Family”, the “Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement”, and others. Yes, due to your tireless activity, you are the personification of a worldwide needed conscience, among those who give a meaning to and implement the notion of solidarity…”

Ambassador Delaye presented Mrs Vardinoyannis’ work as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador as well as President of the Friends’ Association for Children with Cancer “ELPIDA” and the “Foundation for the Child and the Family” and then, he concluded: “For all these reasons, Mrs. Marianna Vardinoyannis, in the name of the President of the French Republic and on his behalf, I have the honour and pleasure to make you Knight of the Legion of Honour”.

Then, Mrs. Vardinoyannis, accepting the honour, thanked the French Ambassador and expressed her profound gratitude towards the President of the French Republic, Mr. Jacques Chirac, and saying inter alia:

“I accept this title with great honour, as well as with a deep feeling of responsibility towards the history and values which this title represents; the values, which the French Republic believes in and have become the banner of the fight for peace and respect of human rights, not only for the French people but for many other nations, contributing significantly to the history of Europe and the leading role of France in the contemporary international activities. At the ‘80s, when I commenced my work by the side of children, a work, for which I initially drew my inspiration from the experience of maternity, I followed a vision: The creation of a better world for children, based on the ideals of solidarity and offer to the fellow human being, as an attitude of life. It is this vision that led me close to you today and I feel particularly excited, because a part of my work has drawn inspiration by France, its civilisation and the personalities who have devoted their lives to common ideals. I consider this night to be a significant milestone of my course. For me, this title does not simply represent an award, but a duty and an even greater commitment to proceed with my work. I also feel that this title belongs to my husband and children, thus I dedicate it to them, as they have been standing by my side, inspiring me, supporting me and sharing my visions, during all these years…”

In the reception followed, Mrs. Vardinoyannis was congratulated by all the guests. Mrs. Vardinoyannis was accompanied by her family, her husband Mr. Vardis J. Vardinoyannis, her children Mr. Yannis V. Vardinoyannis, Mrs. Christianna Vardinoyannis with her husband Mr. George Goulandris, Mr Yorgos V. Vardinoyannis with his wife Mrs. Arietta Livanos and Mr. Nikos V. Vardinoyannis.

Prominent personalities from letters as well as from politics, fine arts, business and journalism were present at the reception.

Honorary lunch in Paris

A few days after Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis’ Knighthood in the Legion of Honour of the French Republic, Mrs. Anne-Aymone Giscard d’ Estaing, wife of the former President of France, Mr. Valery Giscard d’ Estaing, held a lunch in her honour, at the Salon Pompadour of the hotel Le Meurice in Paris.

Prominent personalities from all over Europe, from letters and arts, politicians, scientists, businessmen and others were invited and present.

Among them: the former President of France, Mr. Valery Giscard d’ Estaing, H.R.H. Princess Isabel of Liechtenstein, H.R.H. Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, the Greek Ambassador in France, Mr. Dimitris Paraskevopoulos, the Greek Ambassador of UNESCO, Mr. George Anastasopoulos, Mrs. Rodi Kratsas -Member of the European Parliament, the President of the Palace of Versailles, Mrs. Christine Albanel, Mr. Jacques Arveler, Mrs. Nana Mouschouri, Mr. Jean-Michel Jarre and his wife Mrs. Anne Parillault, Mr. Jean-Louis Scherrer, Mrs. Takako Matsuura –wife of the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. and Mrs. George Goulandris, Mr. and Mrs. Yorgis V. Vardinoyannis, Mr Nikos Vardinoyannis and Ms. Alexia Antsaklis, and others.