For the third consecutive year, the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, in cooperation with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) will honor this year, seven distinguished women of the Greek Diaspora. The event is an initiative of the Prefect of Thessaloniki, Panagiotis Psomiadis, which was “embraced” by SAE from the very beginning as a tribute to the women of the Greek Diaspora, on the occasion of the celebration of International Women’s Day.
The honorees for 2010, who have been selected, as in the previous years, by the seven SAE Regions are: Athanasia Siskou, from Europe, Marina Moustakas, from the U.S.A., Margarita Kapetanea, from Ramallah, Vrisida Mavrou- Paidousis, from Canada, Ioanna Zonara, from Argentina, Olga Kuprianova, from Kyrgyzstan and Alexandra Vaktsidou, from Australia. ANA – MPA is among the communication sponsors of the events for this year as well.
During the event, by decision of the Prefect, two other Greek women will be honored for their contribution; Elena Ambrosiadou and Harikleia Nikolopoulou.
“Thessaloniki, our proud capital of Ecumenical Hellenism, hosting this year for the third consecutive time, the Greek women of the Diaspora, the Greek women of the world, women who make us proud for their contribution, teaching through their lives, love, sensitivity and compassion” states in his message the Prefect of Thessaloniki, Panagiotis Psomiadis.
He continues “In good cooperation with the Word Council of Hellenes Abroad, we honor seven women, who exceeded themselves, who thrive in every area of social and professional life, offering their heart’s excess and promoting Greece all around the world. With their exceptional modesty and dignity, they have rightfully gained the most outstanding praise, limitless appreciation and admiration, not only from Greeks, but also from their fellow citizens, where they live, where they discovered their own Ithaca, in Canada, in Argentina, in Palestine, in the United States, in Australia, in Germany and they built another Greece”
On his part, the President of SAE, Stefanos P. Tamvakis, stated that the celebration in honor of the Woman of the Greek Diaspora, is a small token of honor and dedication towards the timeless contribution of the Woman of the Greek Diaspora, in family, professional and social life.”
“Everywhere and always, but particularly during the unfortunate present economic crisis, in national and international level, the Woman of the Greek Diaspora proves that she stands here, beside us, as a worthy supporter in every initiative to promote Hellenism, making proud not only their country of origin, but also their place of residence” emphasized Mr. Tamvakis.
“For the third consecutive year, we honor, in the Capital of the Greek Diaspora, her successful course; we honor the present and set the spotlight on her future, welcoming in action, her ceaseless struggle to preserve the ancestral light all around the world”.
The event, in a festive atmosphere, will be held on the 14th of April in Porto Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki.
Short CVs of the honored Women of the Greek Diaspora follow:
Athanasia Siskou, SAE Europe
Athanasia Siskou was born and lived until the age of 18 in the border region, Sterna of Orestiada, Evros Prefecture. She studied Biology, Social and Political Sciences and Teaching in the Universities of Dusseldorf and Essen in North Rhine Westphalia. From her first day in Germany, she was enrolled in the migration and student movement.
She actively participated in the organisation of the Community Youth associations and Women’s divisions of Greek Communities, serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Greek Communities of Germany (OEK) from 1986 until 2007 and as its secretary for over ten years. Since March 2008, she lives in Athens whereby she manages the KUMON educational institution in Greece.
Marina Moustakas, SAE U.S.A.
Marina Moustakas comes from Kozani She studied to become a social worker with a scholarship from the State Scholarships Foundation and continued taking up Sociology Studies in the University of Oregon, through a scholarship she obtained by the Fullbright Institute. In 1999 she founded the Hellenic Heritage and Museum, which she serves up until today under her title of Chairman and CEO.
Marina Moustakas is a member of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nikolaos, of the Charity Organisation of Saint Anne, and the Golden Years Association of the Church of Saint Nikolaos. In recent years, Marina Moustakas writes poetry, whilst her dream is to create a Greek village, along the lines of the relevant village in Solvang. She aspires to create a permanent and authentic Greek environment where, as she states herself, will be the “best choice following a visit to Greece”.
Margarita Kapetanea, SAE Africa – Middle East
Margarita Kapetanea was born in Drama in 1956. After the completion of her studies in Greece and Bulgaria, she got married to the Palestinian Dr. Hani Al Hrub, a chief executive member of the Palestinian Authority. In 1994, she moved to the Palestinian occupied territories, in Dieisheh Refugee Camp, located in Bethlehem and immediately became a member of the Association for Palestinian-Greek Friendship. In 1995 she moved to Ramallah and since December 1999 she is the founding member and President of the Association of Palestinian-Greek Friendship.
Vrisiida Mavrou Paidousi, SAE Canada
Vrisiida Mavrou Paidousi was born in Athens. However in 1963 she had to emigrate to Canada and eventually moved to Montreal, where she worked in the Toronto Dominion Bank. During the dictatorship years, Vrisiida Mavrou-Paidousi, led the establishment of resistance organizations, such as Makrygiannis, the Patriot Front, Greek Relief Fund, a fund raising organisation for the relief of political prisoners in Greece.
At the same time she led the establishment of a Labour Association of the Greek Parents Association and the Organisation for Citizen Rights, in order to assist the Greek immigrants and help them integrate in the Canadian society. She was an active member of the anti- dictatorial struggle, during which she was deprived of her Greek citizenship rights, and her passport was confiscated.
Vrisiida Mavrou- Paidousi also led the establishment of a Hellenic-Canadian Solidarity Committee for Cyprus, offering direct assistance for the collection of data on the Greek Cypriots who were evocated from their own homes and the collection of money for their immediate relief. She is married to Professor Michalis Paidoussis of McGill Uiversity, Honorary Consul General of Cyprus in Montreal.
Ioanna Zonnara, SAE Central and South America
Ioanna Zonnara was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1949 and was brought up in a diligent family of Greek immigrants which taught her the values of Hellenism and Orthodoxy. Since 2002 she is the Director of the Language and Cultural centre of the Greek community in Cordoba, whereby Greek is taught to children, adolescents and adults of Greek origin as well as the philhellenes of Cordoba.
In addition she provides seminars on Greek tradition and customs. Through her active participation in the life of the community, in education, culture, in social issues, in Church, she is considered to be the pillar of the spread of Hellenism and Orthodoxy in the community of Cordoba and Argentina subsequently.
Olga Kuprianova, SAE Former Soviet Union Countries
Olga Kouprianova born in 1950 in Yuzhno- Kazakstanskagia Region of Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the Greek Community of Kyrgyzstan “Filia” (friendship), since its establishment in 1994. Since 1997 she is a member of its Board and also the Secretary. Thanks to her great contribution to the development of the community, in 2007 she was elected in the position of the President.
Her contribution in the introduction of teaching the Greek language in well known Higher Education Institutions of the Bishkek capital was catalytic. Olga Kuprianova is a distinguished member of the Diaspora, not only for the Greek community of Kyrgyzstan, as she is also included among the most eminent representatives of the Greek Diaspora in the former Soviet Union.
Alexandra Vaktsidis, SAE Oceania Region
Alexandra Vakitsidis was born in the town of Lemos in Florina in 1951. She migrated to Adelaide in 1968 to marry her husband Dimosthenis and together they have three children and four grandchildren. She has tirelessly supported the promotion of Greek culture through her work on the various annual Greek festivals for over four decades. In 2004 she was a volunteer at the Athens Olympic Games and encouraged others to follow suit. She supports the elderly in Nursing homes, her local Domiciliary Care organisation and Ethnic Link Association, providing exercise, entertainment, emotional support and personal care assistance as well as delivering meals for Meals on Wheels.
She has also led two pilgrimages to Greece for senior citizens which were sponsored by the Greek government. She supports the Greek youth, by being heavily involved in the local Greek Orthodox Church schools where she has taught traditional Greek dancing and encouraged them to participate in the numerous Greek theatrical performances she has organised and acted in. With boundless energy she organised a trip to Crete for students of the local Greek school as well as a Greek Day Festival at the Aboriginal College at Port Adelaide.
As vice- president and founding member of the Organisation of Hellene and Hellene- Cypriot Women of Australia (South Australia) Inc, (OEEGA), she supports Greek women in their endeavour to upgrade their skills and advance their cause in participating in the Australian society. For the past two decades she has worked tirelessly to raise funds for a number of charities, particularly for children with disabilities, the aged and the state hospitals, as well as an enormous amount for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Cancer Research Foundation. She is a highly motivated and empathetic individual who is passionate about helping others.
Elena Ambrosiadou studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Leeds and obtained a maters degree in Technology and Development from Imperial College of London and an MBA from Cranfireld. As the managing director of IKOS, one of the most important hedge funds enterprises in Europe, she has actively participated in the development of IKOS group since 1991.
In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Elena Ambrosiadou was found in the Financial News list of 100 women with greater influence on the European economy. Elena Ambrosiadou participates in various Charities, such as the ARK (Absolute Return for Kids), the Greek Rescue Team and the British Red Cross. Elena Ambrosiado is a dynamic entrepreneur who covered the cost of sending the members of the Greek Rescue Team to Haiti, whereby they succeeded in dragging a 24-year-old youth from the decimated buildings, overwhelming the public opinion worldwide.
Harikleia Nikolopoulou, was born and raised in Thessaloniki. She studied at the Department of Elementary Education and then onwards after taking qualifying examinations, she studied at the Department of Education of the Philosophy Faculty of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Along with her university studies, she excelled in her musical studies in piano and accordion.
She worked as a teacher in the private school “Aristotle College” (1999-2001) and in 2001 she was appointed in public schools in Zakynthos, Kommotini and Etoloakarnania. Since 2004 she has been working in a minority school of Thrace, in the village of Great Dereios of Evros, whereby she lives and works up until today.
She has received important distinctions from national associations and public bodies for her contribution and teaching in a minority school of Dereios in Evros.
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