The Princess of Asturias Awards have fully returned to normality at their award ceremony held this Friday at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo. The more than 1,300 seats available have been filled again to attend the awards ceremony, which is one of the most important events of the year for the Royal House.
In total there have been eight categories delivered for another year, and there are 42, in the Asturian city, with a total of 13 winners, with the absence of two of them for medical reasons, the scientists Yoshua Bengio and Geoffrey Hinton of the Research Award Scientific and Technical.
The sculpture by Joan Miró and the award of 50,000 euros mark the delivery of the award that bears the name of the Princess of Asturias, Leonor de Borbón, who has been accompanied by her parents, King Felipe and Queen Leticia, her sister, Infanta Leonor and Queen Emeritus Doña Sofía. The ceremony was the last for the current president of the Princess of Asturias Foundation, the financier Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, who gives way to the economist Ana Isabel Fernández.
The prizes of this 2022 edition have gone to the archaeologist Eduardo Matos in the category of Social Sciences; to the writer Juan Mayorga in Letters; the cantaora Carmen Linares and the bailaora María Pagés as the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts; AI scientists Geoffrey Hinton, Yann LeCun, Yoshua Bengio, and Demis Hassabis in Scientific and Technical Research; The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been recognized by Concordia for his work towards the less favored and the British Ellen MacArthur in International Cooperation for promoting the circular economy. The list of winners is completed by the Refugee Olympic Foundation and the Refugee Olympic Team, created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in the Sports category.
The war in Ukraine and the economic and sustainability situation in the world have focused a large part of the speeches delivered on the Campoamor stage, including that of King Felipe VI, who did not hesitate to point out the horror of the war in Ukraine and that “The Culture is a victim of war, but war will never destroy the values it represents. In his final speech, the king also valued the European Union and the need for union in the face of future challenges.
The Princess of Asturias, Leonor de Borbón, pointed out in her speech the importance of the work of the winners, “the winners are an example of what the world needs”. Referring to her effort and youth, the heiress to the throne influenced her fourth speech in trusting that “things can always change for the better.”
Carmen Linares and María Pagés have starred in one of the moments of the ceremony singing and dancing improvised by Juan Ramón Jiménez when collecting his Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts, as representatives of a long career at the forefront of flamenco. At the ceremony, four of the winners took the floor on behalf of all of them: the writer Juan Mayorga, the journalist Adam Michinik, the activist Eduardo Matos and the social entrepreneur Ellen MacArthur.
not the ukrainian war
The Polish journalist Adam Michnik, winner of the Communication and Humanities Award, has put Spain as a role model for his country, “The Spanish experience taught us to confront the dictatorship and seek a path to democracy through dialogue and consensus ”. The winner has extended the prize to the newspaper he founded in 1989, Gazeta Wyborcza, and a reference in the fight for democracy in the country.
The journalist made a forceful speech in Oviedo against the war in Ukraine, “it is an evil war, unleashed by evil men”. Michnik has pointed out that “Putin’s war against Ukraine is a war against the democratic world, but Putin is not Russia”, asking for respect from Russian citizens opposed to the war. At the Campoamor Theater, his speech in favor of democracy and against the Russian invasion warned against fascism, “which often changes shirts”, warning that “the heirs of totalitarian traditions promise, instead of democracy, a absurd vision of an ethnically pure or perfectly egalitarian world.
Quoting Unamuno and referring to Don Quixote, the journalist concluded by pointing out that “The Princess of Asturias Award is a sign that it is worth maintaining freedom, decency and the right to make mistakes when seeking the truth.”
The theater, place of respect
The writer Juan Mayor, recognized with the Princess of Asturias Award for Letters, thanked the award with a speech in which he explained his “intimate and passionate” relationship with letters, evoking his childhood and his daughter Raquel. The playwright evoked the plays he saw and heard in his adolescence, “as places where they respected me.” From there to writing to the theaters, “I have always written for the people from whom I expect a lot: the spectators (…) who are always by my side since I put the first word on the white sheet”.
“Those of us who write theater do so, of course, to share with others. To share a time, a space, a vocation to examine life and, when there is one, a bread”, he pointed out. Mayorga did not forget to thank all the people who make up a company for giving life to the lyrics that he has written.
Awards, a song to intelligence
The Social Sciences prize, the Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, valued the relations between Spain and his country throughout history – “united by indissoluble ties” and claimed that the awards are not only for those who receive them but “They are also for those teachers who trained us.”
Matos has defended about history that “You cannot pretend to manipulate it or commit the nonsense of misrepresenting it”, warning that “Bad counselor is ignorance that often leads to lies”.
In his speech, Matos Moctezuma has not forgotten to value education, with reference to Miguel de Unamuno and his words before the Civil War in 1936, pointing out that “Universities and academies are the spaces where thought is cultivated and the reason”, thanking the UNAM for proposing him for the award he received today in Oviedo.
A planet for future generations
In her speech, the British former sailor and social entrepreneur Ellen MacArthur, winner of the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, recalled her solo trips around the world and the lessons learned alone at sea. She there she reflected on the limitation of resources, “Our world is our ship and has finite resources, however, we behave, and manage our economy, as if our resources will never run out.”
MacArthur believes that the world “can do better” if it channels its waste and regenerates nature’s systems, “it is an economy that then never ends.” And he warns that “it is not mere theory” but necessity, putting Spain as a world example of a circular strategy, “If our ambition is combined with action, we can do it”.
“It is about being the first generation that allowed future generations to pass on a healthier planet”, he remarked, because “A planet that has a prosperous economy grows in harmony with nature, and not against it”.
The acts of the Royal Family related to the awards end this Saturday with a visit to the town of Cadavedo, located on the coastal strip of the western region of the Principality, recognized this year with the prize for the Exemplary Town of Asturias.