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General News

Concordia Summit Includes Keynote Speaker Marianna Vardinoyannis

September 24, 2021

NEW YORK – The 11th Annual Concordia Summit, the leading global affairs forum alongside the United Nations General Assembly, took place at the Sheraton Times Square in New York September 20-23 as a live and digital event. With a diverse group of speakers representing various industries, countries, and causes, the Concordia Summit presents fascinating discussions about the world’s most pressing concerns and the innovative solutions many are already implementing across the globe.

In his opening remarks, Concordia co-founder Nicholas Logothetis thanked all those present in person in New York for attending and those participating online. He noted that the event is the first hybrid annual summit and praised the Concordia team for their efforts in putting the summit together.

Among those sharing their views on the issues affecting the world today and offering their insights on the future was keynote speaker and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis, the recipient of the United Nations Nelson Mandela Prize 2020.

In her remarks on September 22, the third day of the Summit, Vardinoyannis spoke about “the components of our global culture- humanism, peace, democracy, freedom, human rights, solidarity, diversity, dialogue and tolerance, development and prosperity, science and innovation, respect for our planet.” She noted that “it is composed by the values and the ideas that keep us together as humanity and as nations by letters and arts and both our history and our heritage.”

“The pandemic was a crash test against the reflexes of our country,” she continued. “It brought humanity face to face with great inequalities. It threatened our world but it never erased hope from our hearts.”

Vardinoyannis said: “2021 is a crucial year for humanity, civil society is expecting brave decisions by the world leaders during the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations. According to Gordon Brown’s open letter to the G7, which I had the honor of co-signing, no one is safe until everyone is safe. I firmly believe that this is the message we are getting from the pandemic, in fact, it reminds me of the words of the ancient Greek Socrates that lack is common.

“In his latest report our common agenda, the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres stresses that humanity faces a stark and urgent choice, break down or break through, and that now is the time to re-embrace global solidarity the culminating pandemic can be the opportunity for our generation to face pathogens, bridge gaps, get closer to global goals. I was pleased to read one of Mr. Guterres’ many recommendations regarding the need for meaningful, diverse and effective youth engagement as well as the empowerment of education, skills, training, lifelong learning, and better political representation.

“On the other hand, initiatives like UNESCO open science which is being so fondly supported by the Director-General Ms. Audrey Azoulay aiming at achieving shared knowledge and bridging the gaps of science and innovation between countries can make a real difference. Such proposals strengthen my belief that you can altogether transform the day after into the dawn of a new era for our planet, leaving no one behind.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m confident that global culture will be our collective force and inspiration and in this challenging term of our history we must never forget the words of Nelson Mandel that our society needs to reestablish a culture of caring. I wish the best of success to the Concordia Annual Summit. Thank you very much.”

On the first day fo the Summit, Ambassador John Negroponte and Uzra Zeya, the U.S. State Department’s Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, discussed the current Afghanistan refugee crisis and efforts, including public-private partnerships, to help at-risk Afghans resettling in the United States.

In his closing remarks on the third day of the Summit, Concordia co-founder Matthew Swift noted that it was the final day of the in-person portion of the Summit and the next day would include “a number of sessions that are entirely digital.”

He thanked the Concordia team, pointing out that the event was “difficult to put together but incredibly rewarding,” adding that “we have to get back to coming together in person, incredible as technology is… it does not fully replicate that human to human interaction.”

Swift concluded by thanking those who attended in person for trusting them with their health and looked forward to seeing everyone in person again soon.

More information is available online: https://www.concordia.net.

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