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Princess of Asturias Awards

09/15/2010

Manos Unidas, 2010 Prince of Asturias award for Concord

Manos unidas ©FPA

The NGO Manos Unidas has been bestowed with the 2010 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. The Jury for the Award announced its decision today in Oviedo.

In its 50 years of history, Manos Unidas has done significant humanitarian and social work, fighting hunger and underdevelopment, and helping millions of people worldwide to access education and health services, thus improving their life conditions.

This candidacy has been put forward by Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, Secretary General of the Spanish Episcopal Conference. More than 6,300 letters of support were received. From Prince of Asturias Award laureates such as Teresa Berganza, father Ángel García, Eduardo García de Enterría, Somaly Mam, Miguel Induráin and Federico García Moliner; as well as from missionaries, bishops and heads of religious communities worldwide.

Manos Unidas is a Catholic non-governmental organization that is dedicated to the fight against under-development, illness, oppression, lack of education and hunger. It was founded after the first campaign against hunger in Spain, which was organized by a group of women from Acción Católica Española (Spanish Catholic Action) in 1960 when the FAO called for world action. Manos Unidas also tries to promote a humane and sustainable development, providing financial aid to those who need it and who, due to the unequal distribution of wealth, live in subhuman conditions. The highest governmental organism is the General Assembly of Delegates, presided over by Myriam García Abrisqueta. It also has a Permanent Commission and a National Management Team. 71 delegations, more than 4,500 volunteers, mostly women, and 86,701 members and contributors who support the organisation.  

The main aims of Manos Unidas are funding projects in poverty-stricken countries, and education for development.  Manos Unidas does not establish projects; it finances those that offer guarantees, helping them to take off. Manos Unidas has supported around 25,000 projects in more than 64 countries in Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. The projects can be agricultural, social, cultural-educational, related to providing medical care and aiding in the promotion of women’s rights. In 2008, Manos Unidas worked on the fifth of the Millennium Development Goals, which is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio. In 2009, the Forum of the 50th Anniversary of Manos Unidas was held in Seville, under the motto “Fighting Hunger, Everybody’s Project”.

692 new projects were taken on in 52 countries in 2009. Manos Unidas also tries to instil the values that aim to achieve change, through fighting for a fairer and more supportive world order. To achieve this, the organization sends educational material to schools, carries out roundtables, conferences, speeches, etc. Manos Unidas receives its funding from private (77.7%) and public (22.3%) sources.  In 2008, it raised 53,650,997 euros, of which 91.7% was allocated to projects worldwide.

As a founding member of the CONGDE (Coordinator of NGDO in Spain) and as member of CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity), Manos Unidas is one of the more than 1,600 European organizations that make up CONCORD (European NGOs Confederation for Relief and Development), with 18 international networks and 21 national associations. It is also part of the Fundación Sur (South Foundation) and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. Manos Unidas has also been in international forums and symposiums, especially those regarding foreign debt in Southern countries, working together in meetings with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Manos Unidas has, among others, the Award for Best Humanitarian Work (1998), the Award of Publicity Festival in New York (1999), the Sol de Plata Award at the San Sebastian Festival (1999), the Ondas Award (National Publicity 2000), the “Human Values” Award of the Scientific Foundation of Caja Rural de Zamora (2001) and the International Award for Human Values of the Jaime Brunet Foundation (2004). In 2009, Manos Unidas was received by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Prince of Asturias Foundation's statutes establish that the aim of the Awards is to acknowledge and extol “scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed by individuals, institutions, groups of individuals or institutions at an international level.” Consonant with this spirit, the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord “will be bestowed upon the person, institution, group of people or group of institutions whose work has made an exemplary and outstanding contribution to mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence amongst men, to the struggle against injustice, poverty, disease or ignorance, to the defence of freedom, or whose work has widened the horizons of knowledge or has been outstanding in protecting and preserving Mankind’s heritage.”

This year a total of 34 candidatures from Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, China, Haiti, India, Italy, Morocco, Peru, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Sweden, Union of Myanmar, United States, Uruguay, Zimbabwe and Spain ran for the award.

This is the last of the eight Prince of Asturias Awards to be bestowed in their thirtieth edition. The 2010 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts went to American sculptor Richard Serra, the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences was conferred on the Archaeological Team of the Warriors of Xi’an (China), the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities was jointly bestowed on sociologists Alain Touraine (France) and Zygmunt Bauman (Poland, of British nationality), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research went to biochemists David Julius, Baruch Minke and Linda Watkins, the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature was given to French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf, the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation was jointly bestowed on the Transplantation Society and the Spanish National Transplant Organization and the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports went to the Spanish National Football Team.

Each of the Prince of Asturias Awards, which date back to 1981, is endowed with 50,000 Euros, a commissioned sculpture donated by Joan Miró, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

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