Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis has been a world advocate and campaigner for human rights and the protection of children’s health and welfare. She is Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO since 1999 and she has dedicated her life to save young lives from cancer and protect their innocence from various threats. She is founder and president of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”, of the “ELPIDA Friends’ Association of Children with cancer” and of the “Orama Elpidas Association”. 

She serves as member of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Advisory Board, as Trustee of the MENTOR Foundation against drugs, as member of the Leadership Council of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” center, as Board Member of "The Hellenic Initiative", as Board Member of Concordia,

as Trustee of the “Nizami Ganjavi International Center”, as founding member of the “Light of Africa Foundation”, as President of the Honorary Committee of the Special Olympics Hellas, and many other organizations. She holds BA in History of Art and in Economics, MPhil in Archaeology as well as Honorary Doctorates in Laws, Philosophy, Human Studies and Medicine. 

She created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece (in 1993) and the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital in Greece (in 2010) which receives the 80% of childhood cancer cases of the country. For more than 30 years, she is fighting against childhood cancer through “ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with cancer” and helped thousands of children to be cured from cancer, including more than 1200 children who got the possibility to receive bone marrow transplants. She also established the Bone Marrow Donor Registry “Orama Elpidas” (in 2014) registering more than 110.000 volunteer bone marrow donors (data as for January 2020). 

Through the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” she supports children and families, schools, people in need and refugees in Greece as well as UNESCO programs for education and culture, peace, climate change, protection of monuments and cultural heritage, promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She organized many international conferences and campaigns for social awareness on crucial issues of our times. She launched the “Speak Truth to Power” program in Greece, a program of “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights” Center, for the promotion of the human rights education in the Greek Schools. 


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With an emblematic event, tribute to the work and legacy of Nelson Mandela, which took place at the Zappeion Megaron, in Athens, Greece, on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, the "Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation" honored the International Nelson Mandela Day (July 18).

At the initiative of the UN-awarded with the “Nelson Mandela Prize 2020-2025”, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, and in the presence of the CEO of the "Nelson Mandela Foundation" Mr. Sello Hatang, heads of International Organizations and important international personalities participated in the Tribute Event entitled "Human Rights and Education: The vision for a better future", paying tribute to the fighter - a symbol of human rights. Video here