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Marianna V. Vardinogianni | Greek Benefactor | A Legacy of Hope and Advocacy

Updated: Sep 12, 2023


George P. Papadellis | SG Head

Marianna V. Vardinogianni was a relentless activist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador who dedicated her life to championing the rights of children and families. Through her Foundation for the Child and the Family, she passionately fought against child sexual abuse, working to create a better and safer world for the younger generations. Additionally, as the President of the Elpida (Hope) Association for children with cancer, she left an indelible mark on the lives of countless young patients.

Marianna Vardinogianni

This article delves into the life and achievements of Marianna V. Vardinogiannis, exploring her early years, educational background, and her rise as a powerful force in the realm of philanthropy and humanitarian work. From her international and regional activities to the personal connections she forged, we uncover the vast impact she had on various causes and the global community. Lastly, we pay tribute to her numerous accolades and honors, which reflect the profound influence she had on society. Her legacy will continue to inspire and ignite positive change for generations to come.

Early Life

Marianna Bournaki was born in Athens, Greece, in 1937, and was raised in Ermione, her mother's birthplace. Her father, George Bournakis, hailed from the village of Sampatiki, in the province of Kynouria, in Arcadia. She pursued her higher education at the University of Denver in Colorado, studying Economics after completing her high school education in Athens.

Path of Advocacy

Marianna V. Vardinogiannis' journey into advocacy began as she became involved in various organizations and philanthropic efforts, with a particular focus on global peace and solidarity. However, it was her deep concern for the well-being of children that emerged as her primary focus. She dedicated her efforts to addressing pressing issues like child health, education, social welfare, poverty, and the prevention of child abuse and exploitation. She was actively engaged in supporting vulnerable social groups, refugees, and schools throughout Greece. Additionally, she played a crucial role in rebuilding areas devastated by natural disasters, exemplified by her work in reviving the village of Makistos after it was ravaged by fires. Marianna Vardinogiannis fostered strong relationships with influential personalities, including Queen Rania of Jordan and Suzanne Mubarak. Collaborating with various networks and organizations, such as the Global Coalition Women Defending Peace, further amplified her impact and reach.

The Elpida Center

A monumental milestone in Marianna's advocacy was the inauguration of the Elpida Children's Oncology Center in Athens, Greece. The center, which focuses on child cancer, stands as a testament to her unwavering commitment to the well-being of young cancer patients. Its establishment provided hope and support to countless families facing the challenges of childhood cancer.

Life of Marianna Vardinogianni

Marianna V. Vardinogiannis led a fulfilling personal life as well. She was married to Vardis Vardinogiannis, a prominent Greek shipping magnate, and together they had five children. Her family life provided her with the love and support needed to pursue her philanthropic endeavors with unwavering dedication. On 24 July 2023, the world mourned the passing of this extraordinary woman. Marianna V. Vardinogiannis passed away at the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy that would forever shape the landscape of humanitarian efforts and advocacy.

Awards and Honors

Throughout her illustrious career, Marianna V. Vardinogiannis received numerous honorary titles and prestigious awards. The Academy of Athens Prize, the Archon of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Grand Prize of the Charter of Paris against Cancer, and the "Ripple of Hope" prize awarded by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation were just a few of the notable recognitions she earned for her outstanding contributions. Her dedication and impact were further acknowledged with the Légion d'Honneur, the Golden Cross of the Order of Beneficence by the Hellenic Republic, and the 2020 Nelson Mandela Prize awarded by the United Nations General Assembly.

A Global Changer

Marianna V. Vardinogiannis' life was an exemplary demonstration of compassion, dedication, and advocacy. Through her unwavering commitment to the rights of children and families, she inspired positive change on a global scale. Her Foundation for the Child and the Family and her work with the Elpida Association have left an indelible mark on society, bringing hope and healing to those in need. As we bid farewell to this remarkable humanitarian, we celebrate her legacy of hope and progress. Marianna's selfless actions continue to serve as a beacon of inspiration, encouraging us all to strive for a world where compassion and advocacy reign supreme. Her memory lives on in the hearts of those whose lives she touched, and her impact will forever be felt by generations to come.


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Mar 17
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

She helped so much for the rights of children and to support families. God bless her ♥️


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