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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 1987 Prince of Asturias Awards

This Foundation, with its extraordinary outreach and its open incitement of cultural activities, work, and the implementation of the most select moral faculties, constitutes one of the fundamental points of authentication for my conduct.

The dynamic tradition of these Awards, which honour me by bearing my name, are once more renewed and exalted in the 1987 edition, with the presence of their majesties the King and Queen and those of you who have earned our recognition and admiration by virtue of your broad messages of creativity, dedication, and intellectual energy.

Our family has grown, spread out, and become popularised since the foundational times of these Awards, whose fame and prestige now extend far and wide.

It was in 1981 when, in this same place, I spoke my first words in public. I remember the unease of those first moments very well, upon congratulating the illustrious personalities that were honoured at that time. It was a natural unease as I engaged in the process of learning the tasks that pertain to me.

It must be said that this Foundation, with its extraordinary outreach and its open incitement of cultural activities, work, and the implementation of the most select moral faculties, constitutes one of the fundamental points of authentication for my conduct.

On this occasion, fruit of the vitality that guided the creation of these Awards, the distinction has been extended to the world of sports. It was precisely Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, who, in last year´s ceremony, suggested the creation of this Award which introduces youth involvement into the overall range of facets that are the object of recompense. And the now honoured Sebastian Coe, the great champion, comes to symbolise the nobility and demanding spirit that goes hand in hand with athletics.

You are a much welcomed addition to this group of the Humanities, Letters, Arts, Communications, Peace, Concord, Solidarity and Cooperation with Ibero-America that unfolds every year on this stage in this Asturias that always finds a way to rise above itself.

All of the Award-winners, in their lives and work, invite us to be better in our activities. The ideals of men and societies cannot be limited to impressive conceptual and philosophical declarations because if they were to remain on the level of pure rhetoric then they would be devoid of all utility.

Science, Poetry, Technology, and the sum of Progress is made day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. They represent the fruit of the assiduity and effort of an ongoing personal and collective task in which-as in athletic trials-fatigue and discouragement must be overcome.

This is the message that is to be deduced from these Awards. It is out of my condition as a Spaniard rather than from the virtues in which I am always learning that I can encourage the younger generations to bear witness to the example of progress that the honoured personalities are offering us today.

The Awards of the Prince of Asturias Foundation are also a call, as a driving force behind attaining an enhanced fellowship between Spain and the Ibero-American nations, as a stimulus in order to achieve objectives of peace and concord in the world, through art and science, represented by those of you who are ready to give the best of yourselves as a spiritual contribution of our time.

In this ceremony Asturias, to which I feel so firmly tied, once again affirms its link to those countries, its identification with that which affects culture, and its backing of these Awards which, increasingly prestigious world-wide, will end up benefiting this Principality and the whole of Spain.

I do not want to forego this opportunity to make mention of an watershed event that has occurred in the life of this Foundation: the stepping down of Pedro Masaveu as President and the appointment of Plácido Arango to this office.

After lamenting that health may have been a determining factor, I would like to express my heartfelt remembrance of someone who, with tact and generosity, was at the helm of this entity since the very beginning. And I want let the new President know that it is with more certainty than hope that we trust that his proven attributes and interest regarding Asturias will yield the finest results as the Foundation´s future unfolds.

At this time I am requesting that all assistance that can be provided, in any form, be offered to the Foundation, because I am certain that its activities are going to further contribute, directly or in collaboration with the Principality´s official authorities and organisms, to the exaltation of this region that we love so much.

My warm congratulations to all of the Award-winners, as well as to the members of the Juries who have so accurately made their decisions.

Among the names of Camilo José Cela, who distinguishes the Award upon being distinguished by it; the already mentioned Sebastian Coe; Pablo Rudomín and Jacinto Convit, Juan José Linz and Eduardo Chillida; the community of Villa El Salvador or the Colombian newspapers El Espectador and the daily El Tiempo, whose merits have been collected in the corresponding citations, allow me to dedicate a very special greeting to Javier Pérez de Cuéllar and to rejoice at the fact that he is able to be among us today. The important labour that he carries out as the General Secretary of the United Nations, in the search of that difficult but possible peace to which the world aspires and his efforts in favour of Ibero-American cooperation distinguish this international personality who, from this moment forward, shall be a Prince of Asturias Award laureate.

Allow me to conclude by expressing my pride and satisfaction at being here today, with the King and Queen and with all of you.

Many thanks to my parents for honouring this ceremony with their presence, as a display of their interest for the Foundation and of their unconditional support of the new President.

Many thanks to those of you present who, as in previous years and, God willing, in the upcoming ones, afford me the opportunity to continue learning and to intensely experience the transcendence of this ceremony.

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