College students, together with peers from the Junior High and High School of Kastellorizo and two students – one Afghan, the other Pakistani – currently hosted by The Home Project, gave an interactive presentation on the human rights, educational program “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.” They presented their work on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at an event co-organized by the “Marianna. V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” and Axion Hellas during the course of the Athens Democracy Forum, held at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art.
College President, Richard Jackson, spoke in depth about the Program which was implemented at our School in 2007 and which will see the participation of more than 2,000 students this year. He focused on the College’s long-standing tradition in social outreach, citing the example our School’s collaboration with The Home Project in carrying out the School Project for unaccompanied refugee minors.
He was followed by six students who detailed their actions, which were executed within the context of the “Speak Truth to Power” Program, under the tutelage of Dr. Iordanis Papadopoulos, Head of the Program. Their presentations generated a dialogue on human rights.
Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Foundation in her name, welcomed the participants. She said: “It is a great privilege for us to once again participate in the Athens Democracy Forum, to unite our forces with Axion Hellas and Athens College and to pass on the values of democracy, which as UN Secretary General, António Guterres, once said, must remain true in the lives of people. Our Foundation strives to instill the values of equality, justice and equal treatment through partnerships with educators from around Greece.”
For her part, Mrs. Kerry Kennedy warmly thanked Mrs. Vardinoyannis for her practical support of the Program, as well as Axion Hellas, which conveys the values and ideals of the Program to the most remote corners of our country. Equally, she stressed the importance of passing on the value of human rights to the younger generation.
Immediately thereafter, Vasileios Pateras, President of the non-profit organization Axion Hellas, and Prince Nikolaos, Advisor to the Board of Axion, spoke about their undertakings in distant regions of Greece within the framework of “Speak Truth to Power.” In her address, United Nations Democracy Fund Director, Ms. Annika Savill, praised the significance of the program.
In attendance at the event were: the wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Mareva Mitsotaki, former Prime Minister, Mr. Giorgos Papandreou, Minister of the Merchant Marine, Mr. Giannis Plakiotakis, Queen Anna-Maria, President of the Athens Democracy Forum, Mr. Achilleas Tsaltas, and many others.
The “Speak Truth to Power” Program is a groundbreaking initiative of the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation” that is taught to millions of students around the globe. It is based on the book by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy. Thanks to the initiative of Mrs. Marianna V.Vardinoyannis, it is currently in its fourth year of implementation in over 150 schools around Greece. The Program falls under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, and is approved by the Ministry of Education. It aims to familiarize students from an early age with the concept of human rights, in order that they, as future citizens, can ensure the creation of a better and more equitable society.