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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Laureates  

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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2006

Thank you Your Majesty the Queen,
Your Royal Highness, Prince of Asturias;
Her Royal Highness, Princess of Asturias.

Let me also express my admiration for His Majesty the King.

For 25 years the Prince of Asturias Foundation has been recognizing the accomplishments of those who devote themselves to improving the world through this awards ceremony.

I am honored to be here to receive the award for international cooperation on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill was pleased to ask my wife, Mimi, and me, as co-chair of the Foundation to come to Oviedo to accept this grand Award.

Cooperation is what it is going to take to solve the big problems facing the world today.

The Prince of Asturias Foundation is doing its part. The government of Spain is doing its part.

You fund a research center in Mozambique that has been essential in the search for a malaria vaccine. Malaria kills 2,000 African children every day, and now the most promising vaccine candidate ever is in advanced clinical trials, thanks in large part to Spain's commitment.

Spain has also been a major funder of GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, which has helped 70 developing countries vaccinate their children against diseases such as tetanus and measles. So far, with your help, GAVI has funded more than 100 million immunizations.

Some have made the case that diseases are economic issues or a national security issues. That's all right with me. If we have to make that argument to get the support we need to fight disease, we should do it.
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But I think you will agree with me that this is not primarily an economic issue or a national security issue; this is a humanitarian issue. People are dying, and we can save them; and that ought to be enough. Sick people in the developing world are human beings who have infinite worth in their own right without any reference to us. They have mothers who love them, children who need them, and friends who cherish them, and we ought to help them.

We are grateful for this honor, but we know that no award for 'cooperation' can be given to one organization. It belongs to all of our partners all over the world as well.

So today we share this honor with everyone who is working to ensure that we all live up to the principle that all lives have equal value and we ought to treasure each one.

Thank you.

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