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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Speech by HRH the Prince of Asturias during the ceremony at the 1984 Prince of Asturias Awards

No person is more than another if they do not accomplish more than the other.

Once more Asturias extols its universality with the granting of the Awards that bear the name of their Prince, a clear bond between the successor to the Crown and this generous, robust, and hospitable land, example of industriousness for all of the Spanish people.

In the distance, on the other side of the ocean that so many Asturians have crossed throughout the years, I know that my son feels the nostalgia and the regret for not being among us in order to grant the Awards, congratulate those who receive them, and express his gratitude for your attendance.

He is kept from us by unavoidable academic obligations in another far away place, which imply sacrifice and concession on his part, and it is precisely in his standout performance as a student, in the arduous challenge of being faced with an unfamiliar world outside of Spain, heretofore unknown to him, from where, as a young Spaniard of his times, he proffers you the finest tribute that ought to be rendered.

These Prince of Asturias Awards have been created to acknowledge and exalt the qualities and merits of the individuals and entities that, within the distinct areas that these honours comprise, have earned the admiration and respect of us all.

No person is more than another if they do not accomplish more than the other. Yet you have all distinguished yourselves with your accomplishments.

The assiduous dedication of scientific and technical investigation; the noble tasks of creation in the Arts, in Letters, and in the Sciences; the communication between people and communities or the cooperation with our fellow nations of America; the exaltation, all in all, of activities of the spirit constitutes an indispensable and fundamental condition for the development of the society in which we live and makes it so that we may also contribute to the well-being of the entire world.

We can not move ahead through the complex weave of History in which we are presently immersed without the lucid, unwavering, sometimes anguished, always joint endeavour of those like yourselves, those who today receive the Prince of Asturias Awards, who have given up the best of your intelligence and effort to the service of progress and peace.

On this score, allow me to, from among the award-winners and as a summation and compendium of all of them, make special mention of the Presidents of Columbia, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela-represented here by their respective Chancellors-whose bold efforts in favour of peace open up the way to concord and understanding between peoples, as well as make progress toward freedom, efforts which merit our support and applause, as the jury has well understood upon granting them such a high distinction.

Culture, in all of its scope and at every one of its levels, ought not to be only an instrumental possibility correlated to and denotative of our condition of social development, but rather something more profound and lasting: the proposal of an ethical conduct.

Culture and ethics occasionally seem to be terms removed from one another, independent, or perhaps even opposed. Nevertheless, they must be inseparable, because the former would not amount to much if it were not inspired by the latter and stimulated by the tremendous strength of the spirit.

You have worked, struggled, and attained the extraordinary achievements in your respective undertakings and these have been acknowledged by the outstanding juries, whose difficult task has been fulfilled in such an exacting and just way and who likewise deserve our recognition.

You generously understand the soul, the anguish, and the aspirations involved in the human, historical, and moral survival of your fellow man. You seek peace and the union between peoples, the development of relationships among human beings.

You are distinguished for your knowledge but, even more profoundly, you are committed individuals who make an outstanding contribution to all of our individual and social lives.

When we reflect on all of this, we feel the profound sensation of gratitude that we can only express with kind, affectionate, and simple words: thank you.

Asturias, which is to say Spain in its fundamental being, in its primary and eternal nucleus, has understood how to esteem this surrendering of your humanistic and scientific vocation for the common good.

The ideal locus of understanding for work and its discipline, its fatigues, its resemblance to a divine mission, is to be found here. Asturias is a community that is synonymous with work, that sings and cries, lives and dies for work. For this reason all of the Asturians who are represented in today´s ceremony feel honoured for having melded themselves into the granting of the Awards you have just received, and for having enjoyed your company or your memory, not only at this moment but for the rest of your lives. Because no matter where you are, Asturias will, time and time again, make sure that its noble and clear message of appreciation gets through to you.

Through your labour, Spain moves forward and the world can envision horizons of peace, a peace which is so badly needed. A peace which we seek for our homeland, for our fellow nations on the American continent, for every country in the world.

Coming after you is a new generation of researchers, writers, artists, technicians, individuals of good faith that are concerned about how they can resolve international problems with justice, and that will follow the outstanding biography of your lives. We must not forget the opinion of a famous writer when he said that "in reality, there is no history. Everything comes down to biography".

In this process of generational substitution, of the accumulation of biographies of standout individuals, we must all collaborate very closely so that Spain keeps pace with the world´s nations.

Thank you on behalf of the Prince of Asturias.

Thank you in the name of Asturias, for the labour for which you have been deservedly honoured.

To the award´s sheer physical presence, you may add the affection and gratitude of all the Asturian people and of the whole of Spain.

And also an expression of thanks to the Prince of Asturias Foundation that has created these Awards and has afforded them distinction and character.

These are Awards which, after spreading the seeds of their importance, fame, and prestige throughout the world, will surely allow an effective and abundant harvest to be reaped, to the benefit of Asturias and the Asturian people.

Of the Asturian people, I ask that you increasingly love your region, this region to which my son, the Prince of Asturias, feels so attached. Think of it and work for it, united in enthusiasm and hope. Feel proud of your green fields, your imposing mountains, your bold sea, your mists that are like a softening filter on the countryside.

Feel increasingly Asturian because this is the way to become increasingly better Spaniards.

I ask of you, the men and women of the Principality of Asturias, and I ask of all those in every part of our nation, to be concerned and long for the ancestral lands where they were born, for the maintenance of their history, for their customs and traditions, for peace and the progress of their communities, for the culture of their inhabitants.

Because as soon as they add their love to the love of the rest, they boldly add to the growth of love for Spain, rather than fragmenting and weakening themselves.

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