Premios Principe de Asturias

Premios Principe de Asturias — Prince of Asturias Awards

The world spotlight is on our very own Asturias right now. Have you heard? Tonight the Prince of Spain, Felipe, is handing out the prestigious Prince of Asturias Awards.

What are the awards? You have heard of the Nobel prizes, right? Well, I think they are something like that.
From the official website:

“The Prince of Asturias Awards are intended to acknowledge scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out internationally by individuals, groups or organizations in the following eight categories: communication and humanities, social sciences, arts, letters, scientific and technical research, international cooperation, concord and sports.

Nominees for any of the Awards must be outstandingly exemplary and their work or contribution to society must be of acknowledged international standing.

The Foundation’s main objective is to contribute to extolling and promoting those scientific, cultural and humanistic values that are part of our world heritage.”

Winners for this year are:

  • Communication and humanities – The National Geographic Society! I think this is genius! Everyone loves the Ntl. Geo Society! They have been recognized for their efforts to educate the world on geography and the need to protect the earth’s precious resources as well as their support for scientific research and expeditions.
  • Social sciences – Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commisioner on Human Rights, she is now head of the Ethical Globalization Initiative, which lobbies governments to honor their commitments to major human and civil rights laws they may have signed.
  • Arts – Pedro Almodovar, Spanish filmmaker known for somewhat controversial, but always interesting films like “All About My Mother,” “Bad Education,” and Spain’s Academy Award selection for this year, “Volver.” He is part of a group of artists of the “transition,” who gained fame during the years of increased freedom following the death of dictator Francisco Franco.
  • Letters – Paul Auster, American writer, poet and scriptwriter. Perhaps best known for his “New York Trilogy,” he is widely published and praised by critics. His most recent work is “Brooklyn Follies.” He is very popular in Spain, but I have to admit that as much as I love books and literature, I haven’t read his work.
  • Scientific and Technical Research – Juan Ignacio Cirac, a Spanish researcher in Quantum Information Theory, working in the USA and Austria.
  • International Cooperation – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is dedicated to achieving equitable access to health care and education worldwide by supporting numerous projects in over one hundred countries.
  • Concord – UNICEF, an agency of the UN that addresses the long-term needs of women and children in developing countries throughout the world.
  • Sports – In a somewhat nationalistic move – Spain’s 2006 National Basketball Team, They have been recognized for defeating all odds and winning the 2006 World Champioinship title, the first for Spain since 1982.

Winners receive a statue and 50,000 Euros.

The ceremony takes place in Oviedo, which is the capital city 30 km from where I live. The city is one of the most beautiful in Spain, in my opinion. All of the award winners are there now, exploring the city, speaking with the press and preparing for the ceremony tonight. Everyone except for Bill Gates, who sent his parents to accept the award. I wish I could be there to see the presentations, but I’ll have to settle for Asturias Public Television as the city is choked full of people.

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