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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Princess of Asturias Awards


All of the eight Prince of Asturias Foundation Annual International Awards have been bestowed for the twenty-ninth consecutive year


The Juries responsible for conferring the 2009 Prince of Asturias Awards Juries met in Oviedo during June, July and September.

The Jury for the Arts inaugurated the twenty-ninth year of the Prince of Asturias Awards, bestowing the accolade on the British architect Norman Foster, “whose work of universal scope combines aesthetic quality, intellectual reflection and a dialogue between territory and citizens via an original mastery of space, light and matter (…)” as the Minutes of the Jury declared.

The Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation was bestowed on the World Health Organisation. As the Minutes state, “The Jury has prized the capacity of the WHO, as a specialized body of the United Nations, to play a leadership role in crucial health issues within the context of a changing world. The Jury has likewise taken into account its capacity to set the agenda for research in health matters, establish standards and formulate policies that combine both ethical and scientific principles, as well as providing technical support to those countries in need (…)”.

The Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences was conferred on the British naturalist David Attenborough “(…) His interest in the problems of our times, his permanent pursuit of excellence and the quality of his research have earned him the acknowledgement of the international academic community as well as making him a figure of great social renown thanks to the dissemination of his work in the major media, especially television. For all these reasons, Sir David Attenborough's work is considered one of the great contributions to the defence of life and the conservation of our planet”.

The Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities was bestowed on the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) “(...) which generously gave refuge to illustrious personalities in exile from post-war Spain, has fostered powerful currents of humanistic, liberal and democratic thought in America and has extended its decisive influence by creating an extraordinary variety of institutions that broaden the academic world and link it to the society they serve”.

The Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research went to the US researchers Martin Cooper and Raymond Samuel Tomlinson, considered the fathers of the mobile telephone and e-mail, respectively. These two findings are amongst the greatest innovations in our time and have revolutionized the way thousands of millions of people all over the world communicate, contributing decisively to the advancement of knowledge (…)”.

The Prince of Asturias Award for Literature was bestowed on the Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré “for the beauty and profound commitment of his literary works. (...) Dando vida a los viejos mitos con palabras nuevas, expresa toda la pesadumbre y la carga dramática de la conciencia. Giving life to old myths through new words, he expresses all the grief and dramatic load of conscience. His commitment is rooted in the great literary tradition of the Hellenic world, which he projects onto the contemporary stage as an open condemnation of any form of totalitarianism and in defence of reason”, as the Minutes of the Jury declared.

The Jury responsible for conferring the Prince of Asturias Award for Sport decided to bestow said award upon the athlete of the Russian Federation Yelena Isinbayeva. As noted in the Minutes of the Jury: “ (...) Yelena Isinbayeva has broken the world pole-vaulting record twenty-seven times, on the last occasion at the recent competition held in Zurich, where she demonstrated a commendable spirit of self-improvement (...). She has twice been Olympic champion, as well as world and European champion on several occasions, in both outdoor and indoor events. She was also distinguished in 2004 and 2005 as World Athlete of the Year. These achievements have made her the best sportswoman of all times in her discipline”.

Finally, the city of Berlin, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, was bestowed with the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord. As the Minutes of the Jury declare: “as a symbol of those who, with the loss of their life or their freedom, fought in a direct way to surmount it, as well as of the millions of citizens who, after its fall, have been capable of building over the scars of division an open, welcoming and creative society, a nexus of concord in the heart of Germany and of Europe that contributes to understanding, coexistence, justice, peace and freedom in the World”.

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 next autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

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