Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation Brings Human Rights Education Into Greek Classrooms

Over the past few months, Speak Truth to Power partner, the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, has worked tirelessly to bring STTP to Greece. Whether through individual collaboration or country-wide conferences, the Foundation has shown to be a dedicated and enthusiastic partner in creating the next generation of human rights defenders.

Most recently, in early March, the Foundation organized a training session that brought together leaders, educators and young people in Greece to discuss not only how STTP can serve as a catalyst for change, but also how it can be implemented throughout the country.

Speakers included UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Greece Yannis Amanatides, President of Axion Hellas Vassilios Pateras and Prince Nikolaos of Greece. In addition to providing a platform for educators to exchange best practices, the seminar also allowed students to share their work resulting from their engagement with STTP, showing the type of impact that this program can have on young people around the world.

To date, more than fifty Greek schools are engaging with STTP, including the Arsakeia & Tositseia Schools, which maintain branches in five cities, as well as in Tirana, Albania.

In discussing the Foundation and its partnership with STTP, the Foundation President Marianna Vardinoyannis stated that:

“the….Foundation has defended children in the fight against pedophilia, abuse and exploitation…, trafficking [and] illiteracy…[and] has made a concerted effort to inform the public and raise public awareness regarding the dangers threatening the wellbeing of children…. The…[partnership] with RFKennedy Human Rights… began…when [the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation] organized a “Speak Truth to Power” series of events including a….performance of [Speak Truth To Power, Voices From Beyond the Dark,] a STTP photography [exhibit] and the publication of [Kerry Kennedy’s book] Speak Truth to Power, Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World in Greek in cooperation with the Greek chapter of Amnesty International….It is our desire to prepare a new generation of leaders and a new generation of responsible, sensitive and just individuals with respect for the value of life and the rights of every man, woman and child to a life of dignity, development and welfare…”

The work happening in Greece is a perfect example of both STTP’s international scope and the power of partnership. As we continue to work with the Foundation and their staff, we are positive that we are one step closer to creating a citizenry of students and teachers who are committed to holding society to the highest standards of equality and justice.