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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Princess of Asturias Awards

06/13/2019

The city of Gdańsk, Princess of Asturias Award for Concord

The City of Gdańsk has been bestowed with the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord, as announced today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

©FPA

The City of Gdańsk has been bestowed with the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord, as announced today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for this Award –convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Javier Fernández Fernández, President of the Principality of Asturias, and composed of Íñigo Abarca Junco, Fernando de Almansa Moreno-Barreda, Viscount of Castillo de Almansa, Antonio Basagoiti García-Tuñón, Antonio Brufau Niubó, José Antonio Caicoya Cores, Sol Daurella Comadrán, Isidro Fainé Casas, Ana Isabel Fernández Álvarez, Vicente Fernández Guerrero, José Antonio Fernández Rivero, Luis Fernández-Vega Sanz, Ignacio Garralda Ruiz de Velasco, Jaime Gorbeña Yllera, Alicia Koplowitz Romero de Juséu, Marchioness of Bellavista, Wenceslao López Martínez, Laureano Lourido Artime, César José Menéndez Claverol, Adolfo Menéndez Menéndez, José Oliu i Creus, María del Pino Calvo-Sotelo, Mariano Puig Planas, Gregorio Rabanal Martínez, Helena Revoredo de Gut, Gonzalo Sánchez Martínez, Pedro Sanjurjo González, Antonio Suárez Gutiérrez, Gonzalo Urquijo y Fernández de Araoz, Darío Vicario Ramírez, Manuel Villa-Cellino Torre, Juan-Miguel Villar Mir, Marquis of Villar Mir, Ignacio Ybarra Aznar and Pedro de Silva Cienfuegos-Jovellanos (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, an institution of the European Union (2017 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord), and Adam Zagajewski (2017 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature). It was seconded by, among others, Prince and Princess of Asturias Laureates Krzysztof Penderecki (Arts 2001), Juan Ignacio Cirac (Technical and Scientific Research 2006) and Krzysztof Wielicki (Sports 2018); the European Committee of the Regions; Polish Institute of Culture; the mayors of the main Polish cities as well as those of Barcelona, Breda, Vilna, Leipzig, Odessa, Milan, Prague, Bordeaux and Berlin (2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Concord).

Capital of Pomerania and the country’s main port, the Polish city of Gdańsk is currently the lead city of a metropolitan area, together with the towns of Gdynia and Sopot, that exceeds one million inhabitants. With a history marked by its strategic location on the Baltic coast and having belonged to different entities and states, Gdańsk –then known by its German name, Danzig– became a Free City under the auspices of the League of Nations as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, which brought World War I to an end. With a large German population, Gdańsk was the scene of what is considered the first battle of World War II, when, on 1st September 1939, the Nazi army invaded Poland via the Westerplatte Peninsula, facing the city, where a scant garrison of Polish soldiers managed to heroically hold out for a week in inferior conditions. Following the Allied victory, an almost entirely destroyed Gdańsk was annexed by Poland, which led to the expulsion of its German inhabitants. Decades later, the first pockets of opposition to the communist regime arose in the city, its shipyards giving rise to the Solidarity trade-union movement, which was to become a leading force in the 1989 overthrow of the regime. In 1990, the leader of Solidarity, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Lech Walesa, became the country’s first democratically elected president since 1939.

Having become the symbol of resistance against Nazism and the fight for the recovery of freedom in Europe, this coming 1st September, the city of Gdańsk will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II in Westerplatte, under the motto “United above and beyond differences, to pay tribute to victims and heroes and bear witness to the scale of human tragedy, heroism and sacrifice”. Considered a welcoming, generous city, since the restoration of democracy in Poland thirty years ago Gdańsk has stood out for its dynamic economy, openness, civic cohesion and tolerant nature, especially through programmes aimed at the integration of immigrants and defence of the LGBT community. Of its almost half a million inhabitants, more than 20,000 are foreigners, most of them refugees from countries of the former USSR, as well as from other areas of conflict, such as Rwanda and Syria. In 2016, the City Council of Gdańsk published a document entitled “Model of Integration of Immigrants”, which develops a management system in public institutions and social organizations in the city to facilitate the integration of refugees and immigrants in areas such as education, culture, social care, housing, employment and health. Furthermore, an advisory council was formed, composed of twelve representatives of immigrants and two refugees, which is responsible for transmitting the needs and concerns of this group of people to the local authorities. In 2018, Gdańsk approved a “Model for Equal Treatment” to improve the conditions of the most vulnerable social groups.

The momentum behind the social policies developed by Gdańsk is attributed to its mayor over the last two decades, Paweł Adamowicz, who occupied this office from 1998 until his stabbing and subsequent death during a public event held in January of this year. The current mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, replaced Adamowicz in office until the early elections held last March, in which she was elected with 82% of the vote.

As stated in the Regulations, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for Concord shall be aimed at recognizing “the work of defending and advancing human rights, as well as promoting and protecting peace, freedom, solidarity, world heritage and, in general, the progress of humanity.”

This year, a total of 34 candidatures from 21 different countries were put forward for the award.

This is the last of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year, in what is now their 39th edition. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts went to theatre director Peter Brook, the Award for Communication and Humanities to Prado Museum (Madrid), the Award for International Cooperation to mathematician and engineer Salman Khan and the Khan Academy, the Award for Sports to skier Lindsey Vonn, the Award for Literature to writer Siri Hustvedt, the Award for Social Sciences to sociologist Alejandro Portes and the Award for Technical and Scientific Research to plant biologists Joanne Chory and Sandra Myrna Díaz.

Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the Awards, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia.

The Awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a solemn ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

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