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Princess of Asturias Awards


The Fulbright Program, Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation

The Fulbright Program for educational and cultural exchange has been bestowed with the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.


The Jury for this Award –convened by the Prince of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Gustavo Suárez Pertierra and composed of Pedro Alonso Fernández, Enrique Barón Crespo, José María Bergareche Busquet, Eugenia Bieto Caubet, Gloria Fernández-Lomana García, Enrique Fernández-Miranda y Lozana, Duke of Fernández-Miranda, Ana Ferrer, Diego Hidalgo Schnur, Jerónimo López Martínez, Ricardo Martí Fluxá, Jaime Montalvo Correa, Marcelino Oreja Aguirre, Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Alfonso de la Rosa Morena, Luis Sánchez-Merlo and Alicia Castro Masaveu (acting as secretary).

This candidature was put forward by James Costos, US Ambassador to Spain, and Ramon Gil-Casares, Spanish Ambassador to the USA. It was seconded by Pedro Alonso, Director of Manhiça Centre of Health Research (Mozambique) and Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, 2008 and 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation respectively, among others.

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 by US Senator James William Fulbright. It is an educational exchange program sponsored by the US government designed with the aim of improving and strengthening ties and mutual understanding between US citizens and participants from around the world. The program currently operates in over 150 countries (it began operating in Spain in 1958). It is run by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, following the general guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board –made up of twelve members chosen directly by the President of the United States– with the aid of bilateral commissions and foundations in 50 countries and more than 100 US embassies abroad in addition to other agencies on American soil. Funding for the program comes mainly from the US Congress, although it also receives financial support from public and private entities in the USA, as well as from the countries participating in the program.

During its more than 65 years of existence, what are popularly known as Fulbright scholarships have given students, researchers and teachers the opportunity to learn, research and teach and exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges and interests of a global nature. Students aspiring to enter the program each year are evaluated for both their academic merit and leadership potential. Over 300,000 students have participated in this academic program to date, approximately one third of whom are from the USA, the remainder belonging to the group of countries with exchange agreements. The program offers several options according to the academic level of participants, depending on whether they already hold a PhD or not. The Fulbright NEXUS Program is also worth highlighting. This is a network of young PhD holders, professionals and researchers from the USA and other Western countries who participate for a year in multidisciplinary research teams and in a series of meetings in the form of seminars that enable them to exchange experiences. The program likewise boasts an extensive network of student and alumni associations worldwide –around 70– whose main goal is to strengthen the relationship among and expand the contact network of all participants in the Fulbright scholarships, in addition to contributing to the integration of foreign scholars who visit these countries to further their studies.

The US administration grants 8,000 scholarships annually among the selected students. Throughout its history, more than 150 participants have been distinguished with Nobel, Pulitzer or MacArthur Foundation prizes. In addition, some Prince of Asturias Award Laureates, such as Richard Serra (Arts, 2010) and Muhammad Yunus (Concord, 1998), among others, have also participated in the Fulbright Program.

According to the Statutes of the Foundation, the Prince of Asturias Awards aim “to reward scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. As part of this spirit, the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation shall be conferred on those “whose work with another or others in areas such as public health, universal education, environmental protection and social and economic development, among others, constitutes an outstanding contribution at the international level”.

There are 20 nominations in the running for this Award from Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States and Spain.

This is the sixth of eight Prince of Asturias Awards to be bestowed this year, in what is now their thirty-fourth edition. The Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts went to American architect Frank O. Gehry, the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences was conferred on French historian and Hispanist Joseph Pérez, the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities went to the Argentinian-Spanish cartoonist Joaquín Salvador Lavado Tejón, Quino, the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research was jointly bestowed on chemists Avelino Corma (Spain), Mark E. Davis (USA) and Galen D. Stucky (USA) and the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature went to Irish writer John Banville. The Prince of Asturias Award for Sports will be announced next week with the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord being announced in September.

Each of the Prince of Asturias Awards, which date back to 1981, comprises a diploma, a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolizing the Awards, an insignia bearing the Foundation’s coat of arms, and a cash prize of 50,000 euros. The Awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony presided over by HRH The Prince of Asturias.

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