(1843-1929) was a Greek businessman and politician. He was a close friend of the Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, perhaps the single most important figure in Modern Greek history.
In 1910 Emmanouil Benakis was selected to the Greek Parliment as a member of the Venizelist party. He served as Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, and during this time established the basis for agricultural services, including that of phytopathology. In 1914 he became the mayor of Athens.
In 1923, using his personal fortune, he decided to build a fully-equipped research institute to provide phytopathological services to the nation of Greece. Its purpose was to offer scientific support to the Ministry of Agriculture, studying and providing scientific knowledge on phytopathological issues concerning Greece. The ultimate aim was to transfer the acquired knowledge and information to farmers, so providing them with the means and solutions to better protect their crops.
A private piece of land in Strofili, Kifissia was chosen as the site. Benaki Phytopathological Institute was founded in 1924, built in 1929 and inaugurated in 1931 by his friend, Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos. Sadly, Benakis himself did not live to see this ceremony.
As well as bringing BPI into existence, Emmanouil Benakis made many other philanthropic bequests and donations, including the establishment of hospitals, the provision of care and resettlement for refugees from the Greco-Turkish War, the endowment educational institutes, a library and a museum. In recognition of his many contributions, the Greek state awarded him the appellation of National Benefactor.