Felipe VI praises the ability of Spaniards to overcome: “The crisis has made us see a strong, responsible and supportive population”

  • Leonor, excited in her second speech: “In Asturias my sister and I feel at home”

Life returned this afternoon to the Campoamor theater. The Princess of Asturias Awards, celebrated last year in an extraordinary way at the Hotel de la Reconquista due to the restrictions against the coronavirus, returned to shine this afternoon in all its splendor, recognizing the best of science, research, culture and sport . The awards ceremony, chaired by the entire Royal Family, had at all times the residents of La Palma, the Canary Island affected for weeks by a destructive volcanic eruption to which King Felipe VI himself dedicated himself to send an affectionate “we will not leave you alone & rdquor ;.

The monarch dedicated a large part of his speech to celebrating the return to normality but called not to forget the lessons of the pandemic. “We have returned to the Campoamor Theater; to our usual stage; to our memories of 40 years; to our best tradition and history. We do it with all the illusion of recovering this solemn, imposing, and also welcoming and inspiring space & rdquor ;, he said. Felipe VI insisted that “We have lived in circumstances that, until recently, were unknown to everyone. The changes that are affecting the world are taking place much faster — dare I say — than human capacity to accept, understand and assimilate them& rdquor ;, he sentenced, emphasizing that historical events such as the coronavirus pandemic “transform societies, cause imbalances and generate tensions.” “This crisis has made us see once again a strong, responsible, mature, supportive Spanish society with a great capacity for improvement,” he stressed.

“In the face of all these changes, we cannot stop. Giving up is not an option, health workers told us in the worst moments of the pandemic. Fainting or conforming is not an alternative. We must move on & rdquor ;, he harangued. Only then will we be able to return to the time when we could “hug, shake hands and get closer to talk & rdquor ;.

“In decisive moments for our future like the ones we are going through, we need the serenity and calm that give firmness to our steps. On that path that today, symbolically, we re-undertake at the Campoamor Theater, we cannot forget our roots, our references, everything we have already traveled as a society, and the foundations of our coexistence in peace and freedom & rdquor ;, He emphasized shortly after highlighting the values ​​represented by each and every one of the winners in this edition of the “Princesa de Asturias & rdquor ;. “They have warned us of the fragility of democratic values, which are not given to us; and whose vigor and validity always demand a firm, permanent, constant and conscious defense. That the strength and security of a better future depend on responsibility, on the fulfillment of the duty that corresponds to each one, on solidarity and on our cohesion & rdquor; work for a better future.

Princess Leonor was emotional in her second speech at the awards that bear her name and cited the winners as an example of work and life “that has motivated me even more in my task of training and studying & rdquor ;. “Studying and observing your work, dear winners, excites me and fills me with strength to continue assuming my responsibilities and always work with the greatest commitment & rdquor ;.

The president of the Princesa Foundation, Luis Fernández-Vega, also stressed that the return to Campoamor is a symbol. “We are managing to overcome the many obstacles that the pandemic has thrown our way.”

Jose Andres

One of the most anticipated speeches for the “media & rdquor; The winner was, without a doubt, José Andrés. The Asturian chef, founder of the NGO World Central Kitchen, the Princess of Asturias Award for international cooperation, was also the one who spoke the longest after receiving the award. His speech, emotional and vindictive in equal parts, could be summarized with one of his first sentences. “Voiceless and faceless people need people to take care of them & rdquor ;, he further emphasized that“ these people do not want our alms, they want our respect and their dignity. And that’s the power of a plate of food & rdquor ;.

José Andrés, moved on several occasions during an intervention that comes after an intense week in which all of Asturias has shown him their affection and respect, he agreed in his intervention of his parents, in professional patients. Some professionals who “exceeded the limits of duty to care for others & rdquor ;. This paternal inheritance was the one that made the cook realize at the age that even though he fed a few, “he had the power to feed many & rdquor ;.

“When I opened my first restaurant in Washington 30 years ago, I met someone who had that same sensitivity, Robert Egger. He worked in the basement of a homeless shelter in the city. I knew wasting food was wrong, but what was really wrong was wasting people’s lives, ”he recalled. His desire to help was put to the test after the hurricane that crossed Puerto Rico in 2017. It was then that he realized the importance of his organization, today awarded and that has already acted in hurricanes, tsunamis or forest fires, providing more than 60 million meals.

José Andrés, who said he was proud of being an “immigrant from the world & rdquor; (He was born in Asturias, grew up in Catalonia and grew up professionally in the United States, called on society to “build longer tables & rdquor; and to become aware of future challenges using food as a weapon against waste, disease and peace.” future depends on the world feeding itself better & rdquor ;, he sentenced dedicating the last words of his speech “to the people of La Palma, who should not be forgotten at this moment & rdquor ;.


Katalin Karikó, one of the scientists awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for scientific and technical research, used her speech to show her hope that she could inspire the next generation of scientists with her work. “We have spent years working on technologies that seemed unconventional and almost science fiction to some but we shared the immense belief that if the result of our work could improve the life of at least one person, then it would have been a success & rdquor ;, he claimed.

Karikó, who was moved by the reception he experienced this week upon his arrival in Oviedo, also listed the challenges that the scientific community still faces. “The possibilities of technologies are endless: we are already investigating ways to prevent HIV, malaria, reduce cancer and treat many other diseases,” he said. Karikó collected the award on his behalf and on behalf of Drew Weissman, Philip Felnger, U & gbreve; ur & Scedil; ahin, Özlem Türeci, Derrick Rossi and Sarah Gilbert. All of them awarded for having contributed to the development of any of the vaccines approved to date against the coronavirus.

Teresa Perales

Teresa Perales, Princess of Asturias Award for Sports, gave a lesson in self-improvement before the packed auditorium of the Campoamor Theater. “Who was going to tell me when I told my mother that I wanted to bathe in the pool that I would continue swimming 24 years later and that I was going to win 27 Paralympic medals & rdquor ;, he summarized. Perales had an emotional memory for his mother. “He never told me, you can’t, you shouldn’t, don’t continue, you won’t make it & rdquor ;. “I want to take advantage of this speaker to tell children and the not so young that we must not wait for someone to tell us what is going to happen or what we should do. You have to think about it or dream about it. Decide what you want and go for it. With decision. Without letting obstacles prevent you, at least try & rdquor ;, he encouraged.

Gloria Steinme

Gloria Steinme, Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, valued the pandemic as a “frightening reason & rdquor; that connected the world. “No national border or cultural difference can fully contain a truly global health hazard. He threatened us all despite financial and health resources that created crucial differences in the way we were treated and how we were treated & rdquor ;, he reflected. The pandemic also left, in his opinion, the lesson “of domestic violence & rdquor ;. “I have seen how my city of New York returns to the streets and thousands of women, mostly young, demonstrated again making these marches coincide with others in most cities of the world and I feel hope again & rdquor; I value the power of laughter.

“You cannot force someone to laugh, to laugh really and sincerely and that is why laughter is a proof of freedom,” he argued, exemplifying his statement with the figures of Hitler or Stalin. The great dictators of history “shut down both family planning clinics and comedy clubs where people laughed freely & rdquor ;, he recalled.

Emmanuel Carrere

Emmanuel Carrère, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, was the last to arrive in Oviedo. He did it this morning and posed, seriously, before the media for the first time at the Hotel de la Reconquista. In a speech delivered in French, his mother tongue, Carrère highlighted Spanish. “I would like to speak and read in Spanish but unfortunately I neither speak nor read it. In compensation I have taken a look at my library, which is classified by language, and Spanish is behind English and ahead of Russian & rdquor ;, he recounted citing national authors such as Cervantes or Javier Cercas.

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Carrère, who recounted how the Princess of Asturias Foundation threw back his first speech for being too little “inspiring”, during his speech, named people who marked his life as his first editor and his wife. The writer dedicated a good part of his speech to talking about the trial for the 2015 Paris attacks. “The stories of shipwrecks, catastrophes, generalized for himself, usually reveal the worst of the human being. Cowardice, each to his own, cannibalism. Here, none of that. We cannot imagine that a collective fiction of greatness of spirit has been created, and yet practically only examples of mutual help, solidarity and heroic gestures have been described to us & rdquor ;, he stated.

At the gala, which featured the traditional blue carpet and was held after an intense week full of conferences and events throughout Asturias, the work of Amartya Sen, Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences, Marina Abramovi & cacute ;, award of the arts and CAMFED –the Campaign for Female Education, an award for international cooperation.


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