UNESCO celebrated its 65th Anniversary with a cultural event which: the presentation of the new book of Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, entitled “Labouring with the Challenges of Female Identity: Insights into the Minoan Society”, which is based on Mrs Vardinoyannis’ postgraduate research in Archaeology in the University of Sheffield.

Personalities who wrote the history of UNESCO the past decades, honoured the Greek Goodwill Ambassador with their presence in the event that took place on 14 December in 2010 at the Organisation’s Headquarters in Paris: the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, the three former Directors-General of the Organisation, Mr Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow, Mr Federico Mayor and Mr Koichiro Matsuura, Goodwill Ambassadors and international personalities who warmly addressed the book as well as the work of Mrs Vardinoyannis.

The book focuses on the social role of women in Minoan Crete from 4000 until 2000 B.C. and the author presents the similarities between the challenges faced by women in their everyday life and those faced by women in other societies as well as by women today. Through the archaeological remains, she discovers secret symbolisms for maternity and women solidarity, although, for many years, women and children were the “silent” or the “invisible” people in the prehistoric era, as Mrs Vardinoyannis reports in her book. In her book, she tries to reverse it.

Mrs Irina Bokova prefaced the book: “Marianna Vardinoyannis’ book is a marriage of passions – a passion for art history and a passion for understanding the role of women. The result is as unique as the subject explored. The conclusions are fascinating. The work is connected with one of the UNESCO basic priorities as well as my own personal commitment. I am convinced that women are able to provide solutions to the contemporary problems. And as you very correctly stated, Marianna, “the heritage of women in Minoan era still exists with us even today”…This book is a continuation of your long-standing dedication to the cause of women and children as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and through the ‘Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation’. This is yet another string in your bow, a pliable string! I congratulate you and I, once more, thank for your passion! It’s not a coincidence that we meet today that the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the Organisation takes place. UNESCO is built on the idea that peace cannot be taken for granted and that humanity should be strengthened every day, through teaching, learning, being maintained and shared”.

Mrs Vardinoyannis thanked Mrs Bokova for her support in the publication of this book, the honour to preface it, as well as the honour for herself and her country that her book is presented at the UNESCO headquarters and, in particular, during a significant day in the history of the organisation.

Then, Mrs Vardinoyannis, referring to her book said, inter alia: “I have selected this particular title because I believe that it expresses the bonds which connect the women of past and the present, independently of the social, political and cultural differences which diversify them. In this book, I tried to reveal the female identity and the life of women through a particularly valued and ecumenical issue for me: the maternity and family, During the writing of this book, I tried and I hope I have accomplished, to reveal the truth for the devotion, the determination and the affection that these women demonstrated towards their families and the raise of their children, as well as the society and the partners who they were living with. I consider that their life and work constitute the heritage of the female identity, which comes from the distant past, sustains the present but can also inspire the future, particularly through a work like the one implemented by UNESCO and her ambassadors in the entire world; a work whose anniversary we celebrate here today”.

The event was attended by the former President of France Mr Valery Giscard d’Estaing and his wife Anne-Aymone, the First lady of Azerbaijan and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands – UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, Mr Kalin Mitrev, the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors, Jean Michel Jarre, Bahia Hariri, Claudia Cardinale, Kim Phuc, Sheikh Ghassan Shaker, Pierre Berge, Cristina Owen Jones, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, and others. UNESCO Artists for Peace were also present, such as, Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola, Chiko Bouchikhi, Maria de Medeiros, and others. Mrs Nana Mouschouri, Mr Louis Giscard d’Estaing and his wife Nawal, Mrs Jacinte Giscard d’Estaing, the Ambassador of Greece in France, Mr Constantinos Chalastanis along with his wife, the UNESCO Greek Ambassador, Mr Theodoros Passas and others were also present.