Crown Princess Katherine was invited by UNESCO, the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR) to be part of and to present achievements at the High-Level Conference on the theme “Welcoming Cities for Refugees: Promoting Inclusion and Protecting Rights”. Crown Princess Katherine and her foundation significantly helped children refugees in Greece, as well as in Serbia.
Crown Princess Katherine as Patron of Lifeline Hellas and Lifeline New York held a fund raising event in New York last June to support refugee children in Greece.
The Athens conference is linked to an ongoing partnership between UNESCO, the M.V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and ECCAR, launched last May. Drawing on ECCAR’s own commitment to an anti-racism welcoming culture, the initiative on “Welcoming Cities for Refugees” aims to promote a better understanding of current trends, approaches, obstacles and challenges and to empower municipal authorities and local governments to conceive and implement an inclusive urban agenda for refugees and migrants.
The Conference was graced by the presence of H.E. Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos President of the Hellenic Republic and Mrs Pavlopoulos, (also the best man of TRH’s son David, and godfather of their grandson Alexander) accompanied by his wife. The opening ceremony was featured by Ms Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Mrs. Odeta Nishani, First Lady of Albania and Ms. Andri Anastasiadis, First Lady of Cyprus, and many others.
The conference was followed by two interactive panel sessions contrasting the realities of refugee and migrants reception by cities in Greece and elsewhere with the participation of Mayors from Greece (Lesbos and Maroussi), United Nations dignitaries, experts and civil society representatives. This part was introduced by Mr. Yannis Mouzalas, Alternate Minister of Immigration Policy of Greece, and the Right Honorable Adrianne Clarkson, former Governor Genral of Canada.
Only on Lesbos island more than 95.000 refugees came last year, there were days in Greece when daily there were more than 50.000 refugees in process of crossing, and it is assessed that there is around 244 million refugees all over the world.