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The Pan-Cretan Union of Athens honors Marianna V. Vardinogiannis

On Wednesday 9 March 2011 the Pan-Cretan Union of Athens* honored UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the "ELPIDA" Association of Friends of Children with Cancer Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis in a special event held at the Grande Bretagne Notel.

The event was organized on the occasion of International Women's Day and the proceeds were donated to the "ELPIDA" Association of Friends of Children with cancer.

The event opened with a speech by the President of the Pan-Cretan Union of Athens, Mr. Georgios Maridakis, who awarded an honorary distinction to Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, saying characteristically:

"… In order to honor all Women, we chose to do it by honoring a special woman who has for many years performed a unique, national, social and charitable work.   Who has devoted her life and activities to helping those in need, to soothing the pain of those who suffer.   Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill ambassador and president of the "ELPIDA" Association.   Our fellow Cretan who, with the backing and support of her husband, our dear Vardis, is always close to us.   The cultural movement of our special homeland, Crete, owes them much!"

The distinction was accompanied by an honorary diploma and a sculpture of a mother sheltering a child created by the sculptress Eleni Tzifaki.

After thanking the President of the Board of Directors and the members of the Pan-Cretan Union for the great honor they bestowed on her as well as for their kind initiative in pledging the Pan-Cretan Union's support for the work of the "ELPIDA" Association, Mrs. Vardinoyannis went on to say:

"… my grandfather was born in Crete and settled in Leonidion, in the province of Kynouria.   My family's ties with this land are indissoluble, its roots deep, it is always in our mind, in our heart and in our priorities both mine and my husbands, as well as our children's…   Crete is always in my heart and throughout my life it was a place of inspiration and creativity for its rich history, its traditions, its natural beauty, its unique monuments, the heroism of its inhabitants throughout the ages and the authentic character it preserves as it looks towards the future.   Crete is a part of our country which with its history makes our homeland proud in every corner of the world!...   I feel great admiration for its culture, which is why I devoted 4 years of my post-graduate studies in archaeology and 2 years writing my book on the place of women in the Minoan period.   After this research, I feel even more proud as a woman of Crete…   I close with the wish that our beloved Crete keeps to its special course, as protector and articulator of this unique civilization and continues being the land of true patriots!"

Mrs. Vardinoyannis then presented Mr. Maridakis with her book "Labouring with the Challenges of Female Identity: Insights into Minoan society", for the Union's library.

The program closed with the extraordinary Cretan dancers of the Manolis Pattakos "Kourites" Folkloric Club and the musicians Sifis Tsourdalakis, Manolis Chamogiorgakis and Giorgos Papoutsakis who performed traditional Cretan dances and songs for those present.

The Underminister of Citizen Protection Mr. Manolis Othonas, Members of Parliament Dora Bacogianni, Kostis Hadzidakis, Olga Kefalogianni, Giannis Plakiotakis, Eftichios Damianakis and Christos Markogiannakis, members of the Pan-Cretan Union and the "ELPIDA" Association of Friends of Children with Cancer and many others were present at the event.