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I feel deeply committed to this endeavour of the Prince of Asturias Foundation that promotes culture and helps to unite communities.
I have returned to these lands of Asturias, to which I feel so closely tied, in a new edition of the Awards that honour the title of the Principality, full of joy as a result of this encounter with the Asturian people, its institutions, and the standout personalities who have merited the Awards.
I am here once more to share in your hope for the future and to fortify myself with the moral and intellectual energy that is generated every year on this platform of culture symbolised by our esteemed honourees.
Today is, therefore, a day of celebration. Asturias is in a festive mood and there is excitement in the air about being the cultural seat of the world in the finest expression of creative solidarity.
In this ceremony it is indispensable that we publicly acknowledge those who, like the Award-winners, work toward progress, peace, and freedom. In our time, as in other historical periods, we run the risk that these grandiose and sonorous words, if they are not filled with authentic meaning, become mere rhetoric and lose their capacity for convocation and stimulus.
For this reason, our Foundation´s Awards are a real and effective assertion that is produced every twelve months, coinciding with the fall foliage of Asturias, in order to proclaim to the Hispanic peoples on both sides of the ocean and to Europe, that integrating and enlightening force of civilisation, that we are here to acknowledge the merits of those who stand out in the different areas of culture. We are here in Oviedo where the Foundation of the Principality acts as a bridge of responsibility that we must cross on the route that takes us to the future of new generations.
In this quest for knowledge that I, with dedication and enthusiasm, am engaged in, I have realised the importance of the steadfast and compelling lesson of work, without which nothing can be accomplished. With your devotion, you, illustrious writers, scientists, sociologists, and economists, justify the hope of a better world.
It is not only because you follow the most adequate road, but rather because of the constant effort of your activity that we are able to place our confidence in a life full of optimism.
It would not be fitting for me to use a professorial and distant tone. Yet with naturalness and sincerity I must say that I feel deeply committed to this endeavour of the Prince of Asturias Foundation that promotes culture and helps to unite communities. In this way Asturias acquires a universal character. From here we must struggle to overcome the obstacles of backwardness and feel committed to the demands of our time in order to put the sciences, arts, and all types of knowledge at the service of humanity.
On this occasion and in a deeply felt way, I ought to make mention of a person who stands out in this aspect of extending culture to the most varied spheres, Alberto Sols, recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, recently passed away, considered as the premier Spanish biochemist and whose efforts were dedicated to the scientific training of the young people that, attracted by his excellence, arrived at his laboratory.
I also wanted to dedicate a remembrance in this ceremony to the unforgettable figure of an Asturian who left us only a short time ago, a great Asturian who propitiated the Prince of Asturias Foundation from the very beginning and always lent his support to all cultural initiatives. His name is unquestionably in our minds and in our hearts: Ramón Areces. He was a man of emigration who embraced two worlds and, with his untiring work, left behind ample work in order that it serve as backing to research and culture in general. His industriousness ennobles Asturias and Spain and constitutes an example that I want to emphasise today with emotion.
I express my gratitude once more to the Asturian people and their authorities; the Foundation that bears my name and to all those who contribute to its continuance and consolidation; the juries that have accurately selected the Awards and those meriting them on the current occasion, and for their permanent support to this important endeavour that projects the name of our Principality into the world. I would like it if this sincere and enthusiastic acknowledgement were the best stimulus to continue the task underway.
I want to end these words by expressing my deep satisfaction at the recent concession of the Nobel Prize for Letters to Camilo José Cela, recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, an honour which, like all Spaniards, I am proud of. I take advantage of this occasion to, from here, wish him well and to send my congratulations.
And plagiarising his prose, I recall what he advised me in his words two years ago:
"In Spain, and I´ll tell you your Highness because you are a young Spaniard, he who resists, wins".
Thank you very much.
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