INTERVIEW: Egypt, Greece can capitalise on shared past to build successful cooperation, says Catherine Sofianou

Eman Youssef in Athens , Thursday 30 Mar 2023

Catherine Sofianou is an inspiring entrepreneur, benefactor, and ambassador of the Greek diaspora. She believes that Egypt and Greece can capitalise on their shared past to build successful cooperation.



Being a top leader in healthcare technologies and a renowned benefactor, Cairo-born Catherine Sofianou received many distinguished international awards for her contribution to the promotion of the Greek language and outstanding social initiatives.

Sofianou, the ambassador of Hellenism Abroad of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, was recently honoured at the Greek Women of the World event which was organised by the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO and the Region of Western Greece, which took place at the Archaeological Museum of Patras, under the auspices of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy.

Sofianou has also received an Award for “Exceptional Women of Excellence” at the Women Economic Forum held in Cairo in 2020.

“The most important thing is just to bring joy to fellowmen. Nothing moves me more than the satisfaction that one feels when having the opportunity to offer to those in need,” Sofianou said.

“The message I would like to send to the world is that all businessmen, especially those hosted in foreign countries, have the duty to offer help to those in need, either by educating children through scholarships or by supporting the elderly and the disabled fellow humans,” she added.

“I really feel very lucky to have been born in Cairo, Egypt, where I had a wonderful childhood that left me with the best possible memories. Egypt is gorgeous and breath-taking,” Sofianou said.

“I believe that the common past of Egypt and Greece for more than three and a half millennia provides all the necessary prerequisites for the successful cooperation between the two countries. Nowadays, the dynamism and determination of our leaders ensures further strengthening of our ties.” Sofianou noted.

The book Ena taxidi zois, or Life Journey, tells the true story of her ancestors who began their journey in Smyrna and around the First World War moved to Egypt, where they prospered.

“It continues of course with the biography of my parents and other siblings who in the 1960s moved to Greece. And finally, the book describes my life, relating how, together with my husband Pantelis Sofianos, I decided to invest in Romania at the beginning of the 1990s. Where I excelled, by God’s grace, and had the possibility to offer humanitarian aid to many people in need, and also to support cultural projects,” she emphasised.

“My big dream is to see the children and grandchildren of all Egyptian-Greeks return to the Nile country which hosted our ancestors for many years,” Sofianou said.

“As a vice-president and chairman of the Greek Chapter of the International Friends of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, I have done my best to support in various ways our beloved library, by enriching its collections, contributing to the organisation of congresses, and promoting it in Greece, especially among younger generations. Although nowadays I am just an honorary president of the Greek Chapter, I am committed to offer even more to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina,” she said.

Regarding the ARGO humanitarian contribution award 2022 that was presented by the President of Greece Katerina Sakellaropoulou, sofianou said that the ARGO Humanitarian Award is considered the culmination of the numerous distinctions she has been honoured to receive over the past 20 years.

Sofianou has dedicated the award to her husband and her children, George and Angeliki Polymnia, who have supported her and offered her the energy and strength to do so much in business, as well as in her philanthropic work. She stressed she will continue the humanitarian work unhesitatingly for the rest of her life.

Referring to the latest technologies in the medical field, Sofianou emphasised that technology has been constantly and rapidly evolving and plays a vital role in the medical field. “Our group has been opening new roads for the healthcare systems in our region with our digital and robotic technologies for almost three decades now, and we see an increasing appetite for adoption from healthcare providers.” 

She said that the technologies which allow a collaborative approach between healthcare professionals so that they can offer integrated services to patients are the current trends in the field. “We believe that telemedicine, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, gene-editing tools, and patient wearables are reimaging our health outcomes, while adding new dimensions to the holistic approach of future treatments,” she said.

“My advice to young entrepreneurs is to set ambitious goals and to really believe in them. Work very hard in order to achieve these goals,” she concluded.

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