Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki

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Gianna Angelopoulos–Daskalaki

Γιάννα Αγγελοπούλου-Δασκαλάκη
President of the Athens Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games
In office
May 15, 2000 – 2005
LeaderJuan Antonio Samaranch (2000–01)
Jacques Rogge (2001–04)
Preceded byMichael Knight
Succeeded byLiu Qi
Convening Sponsor, Clinton Global Initiative Honorary Ambassador of the Greek State
Personal details
Born (1955-12-12) 12 December 1955 (age 63)
Heraklion, Greece
Alma materAristotle University of Thessaloniki

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki (born Ioanna Daskalaki, 12 December 1955) is a Greek businesswoman.[1] She is best known for being the president of the bidding and organizing committee for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She was named one of the 50 most powerful women by Forbes magazine.

Early life[edit]

Born to a middle-class family in Heraklion, Crete, she distinguished herself academically and politically. Daskalaki studied law in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Personal life[edit]

In 1990, she married the Greek shipping and steel magnate Theodore Angelopoulos, and has since been involved in several aspects of Angelopoulos' business interests, mainly in shipping.[1] The couple has two sons, Panagiotis Angelopoulos and Dimitris Angelopoulos.[2] She also has a daughter, Caroline, from a previous marriage.[3]

Political career[edit]

In the late 1980s, she became actively involved in politics in Athens. In 1986, she was elected to the Athens Municipal Council. In 1989, she was elected to parliament, and won reelection the following year.

In 1998, she was appointed Ambassador at Large by the Greek government.[4][5] She was paid for this appointment and donates the sums to several Greek charities each year.[6]

In October 2008, she was appointed Chevalier of the French Republic's National Order of the Legion of Honor during the Presidency of Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy.

Involvement In 2004 Athens Olympic Games[edit]

Disappointed over losing the bid for the 100 Year Celebration of the revival of the Olympic Games in 1996, Greece officials decided to bid for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki was named president of the Bidding Committee,[1] making her the first female president of any Olympic organizing committee, and succeeded in bringing the games to Athens. She was however excluded from the initial organization committee that would prepare for the games.

When the International Olympic Committee questioned Greece's commitment to the games and its ability to complete all preparations prior to the opening ceremony, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki was asked to return and was named president of the Olympic Organizing Committee in May 2000.[4] She was the first woman to hold this position.[3] Under her watch, competition facilities were completed and security issues were taken care of. International Olympic Committee presidents Juan Antonio Samaranch[4] and Jacques Rogge both specifically credit Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki for the success of the games. In his speech at the Closing Ceremony, Rogge said, "These Games were unforgettable, dream Games."[7]

After the 2004 Olympic Games, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki bought "Eleftheros Typos" ("Free Press"), but the daily failed to meet its sales goals and was eventually sold off.

Post-political career[edit]

In 1994, she was appointed[8] Vice-Chairman of the Dean’s Council of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she continues to serve today.

In 1995, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki co-chaired, along with Kennedy School Professor Graham Allison, a Harvard Leadership Symposium titled The Greek Paradox: Promise vs. Performance,[9] which addressed the gap between Greece’s potential and its performance in the realms of politics, economic growth, and regional leadership. Harvard published a book that followed the symposium with the same title. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki is the author of the book’s Preface.[10]

In 2012, she created the Harvard Kennedy-School based Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellowship program as a part of a Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative.[11] The program was announced by Ambassador Angelopoulos, with Dean Ellwood and President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in 2011. The program provides opportunities for high-profile leaders who are transitioning out of public office or other leadership positions to spend time in residence at Harvard for teaching, learning and research.[11]

In 2013, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki established the Angelopoulos Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) Fellowship and began sponsoring Greek students to attend Clinton Global Initiative University. She has since sponsored over 60 students.[12] She also served as a Convening Sponsor of the 2014 and 2015 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meetings.

Authored Books[edit]

She is the author of My Greek Drama: Life, Love, and One Woman's Olympic Effort to Bring Glory to Her Country. The book debuted at #18 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller list for the June 2, 2013 print edition,[13] and entered the top 10 at #7 in the June 9, 2013 print edition of the paper.[14] The book was also a Wall Street Journal[15] and USA Today[16] bestseller.

TV Interviews[edit]

MSNBC 5/6/13: Greece Is In a 'Bad Marriage With the European Union'[17]


  1. ^ a b c "Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulos - Daskalaki". Xapital Link. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  2. ^ Gianna Angelopoulos. "My Greek Drama: Life, Love, and One Woman's Olympic Effort to Bring Glory to Her Country". Greenleaf Book Group Press.
  3. ^ a b Philip Hersh. "More than anyone else, she made these Olympics happen because iron-willed Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki is . ." Retrieved 8 Feb 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Associated Press (2004-08-22). "Mrs. A. saves Olympics, challenges patriarchy". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  5. ^ Adam Reger. "Greek Ambassador-at-Large Gianna Angelopoulos to Give a Pitt Lecture March 28 About Her Country's Past and Future". Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Former chief of Athens 2004 Olympics got paid for role as ambassador at large". Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  7. ^ Associated Press (2009-08-29). "Rogge: Athens 'unforgettable, dream Games'". Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  8. ^ Doug Gavel. "Clinton, Angelopoulos, and Ellwood Discuss Leadership and Public Service". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  9. ^ "Angelopoulos-Daskalaki Discusses 'Greek Paradox' In Harvard Speech". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  10. ^ "The Greek Paradox: Promise Vs. Performance". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos Announces Creation of the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Program". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  12. ^ "Gianna Angelopoulos Announces Commitment to Support Greek Youth Entrepreneurs at Clinton Global Initiative". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  13. ^ "New York Times Best Sellers: June 2, 2013". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  14. ^ "New York Times Best Sellers: June 9, 2013". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  15. ^ "WSJ: Best-Selling Books Week Ended May 26". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  16. ^ "USA TODAY Best-Selling Books". Retrieved 4 Feb 2016.
  17. ^ "Greece is in a 'bad marriage with the European Union'". Retrieved 8 Feb 2016.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Australia Michael Knight
President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games
Succeeded by
China Liu Qi