An important event to promote reading and equal access to education was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, on Saturday, 18 January 2020, with the support of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis” Foundation

The event was organised in the context of the “Reading Night”, a global annual event launched in 2017 and already being organised in 32 countries across the world.

It entails a number of activities organised by international organisations, schools, libraries and agencies across the world, aiming to promote reading and disseminate the messages of humanitarianism and solidarity which are conveyed through books. The subject of this year’s “Reading Night” was access for all to learning and reading in order to form societies without inequalities, that are open to all.

It is worth noting that this is the first time that this event was hosted at the UNESCO headquarters, in Paris, and the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis” Foundation, as part of its mission of education, culture and support of vulnerable populations, such as refugees, has embraced this important initiative.

The event was attended by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, Mr Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, Greece’s ambassador at UNESCO, Maria Diamantopoulou, internationally famous sculptor and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs Hedva Ser, writers and artists, whereas Mrs Vardinoyannis gave the opening address at the event.

 “Words, like our imagination, have no borders. Our need as humans to express ourselves, is the reason why we started to write. Each book is an entire world. A world without borders. This world without borders was also the vision behind the creation of this institution. This is an initiative that does not simply honour reading, but first and foremost contributes towards creating a democratic world, where everyone has equal access to education and books”, Mrs Vardinoyannis underlined in her speech.

During her speech, Mrs Vardinoyannis made special reference to the Salamis – Thermopylae 2020 Anniversary, noting the value of historical study and knowledge: “The Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis are two historical milestones. If the Greeks had not triumphed in Salamis, Western Civilization as we know it, would not be as we know it. Because thanks to this victory, the values of the Ancient Greek civilization flourished, still going strong today. And they are still alive thanks to the historical records”, Mrs Vardinoyannis noted.

In a private meeting a little earlier between Mrs Vardinoyannis and the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Audrey Azoulay, Mrs Azoulay thanked Mrs Vardinoyannis for her valuable contribution in the organisation of the event, and they also discussed the possibility of bringing this event to Greece as an initiative of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis” Foundation.