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Speech by HRH The Prince of Asturias at the 1991 Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony

The prosperity and the joy of communities flourish when values such as freedom, solidarity, education, creativity, love of work, capacity for sacrifice, and cooperation, exist in harmony within them.


Your presence at this ceremony which is so dear and important for Asturias and Spain is deeply satisfying for me.

This Principality and, in a special way this city, celebrate an event of transcendental consequences for the history of Spain: the one thousand two hundredth anniversary of the enthroning of Alfonso II El Casto as King of Asturias.

Alfonso II turned his Kingdom into an artistic focal point of the Christian world, amassed the aspirations of the communities of northern Spain, and spread his influence to Lisbon and the Europe of Charlemagne.

It is inspiring to check the oldest records of our history how, from a small, poor, and harassed Kingdom, as Asturias was then, a grandiose example emerged out of the will that some people had in order to overcome the most arduous difficulties. In the same manner that that great King set his sights above and beyond the mountains which both protected and isolated his Kingdom, I propose to make it so that, with the help of everyone, these Awards become, from the Kingdom of Spain, a universal message of concord and love for culture and freedom, considering that there cannot be peace on Earth until the men and women that inhabit it are free to create and to say what they think.

This year´s list of honourees, to whom we pay homage to today, is an excellent reference of the future that we want for our Awards.

We acknowledge, with special emotion, the community of Puerto Rico, recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, for so resolutely defending its most precious cultural legacy by cultivating our language and making it be born and reborn each day as blood from the soul. I want to express my gratitude to their governor for his presence here today, and I send a message charged with brotherhood to the Puerto Rican people.

Our admiration also goes out to Sergei Bubka, winner of the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, mythical athlete whose constant and spectacular ability to exceed limits is a model for all the world´s youth; to Luis María Ansón, recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanities, journalist of unshakeable fidelity and passionate conviction in favour of freedom and culture. To Miguel Artola, winner of the Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences, researcher of History, whose innovative and rigorous task sheds light on the society of the past and helps us to interpret the present one. His disciples, out of the admiration for his work, have formed a school, which is the best guarantee for the continuity and the expansion of his task.

Our homage goes out to Francisco Bolivar Zapata for generating top-flight scientific investigation and demonstrating, at the same time, that the passion to uncover life´s enigmas can overcome the inadequacy of means.

Our congratulations to Victoria de los Ángeles, Teresa Berganza, Montserrat Caballé, Pilar Lorengar, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Alfredo Kraus, Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, for being extraordinary and unparalleled ambassadors of lyric music for all times and of contemporary Spanish culture for the world. You have made your voices spread far and wide across the country, propitiating a greater attraction for the world of music.

The deepest vocation of these Awards is strengthened this year with the Awards for Concord, to Doctors without Frontiers and Médicus Mundi; and International Cooperation, to the High Commission of the United Nations for Refugees. Three organisations that carry out their labour where the signs of poverty, sickness, war, and repression are highly recognisable. Their risky and tireless effort in favour of solidarity reminds us of the best old- style European thinking, according to which we have not been born for ourselves but rather for others. The persons that dedicate themselves to these kinds of endeavours enable us to renovate our faith in mankind, so often distorted by the vicissitudes of history.

I am also pleased at the granting of the Exemplary Village of Asturias Award to the Friends of the Countryside Association of Villaviciosa-Cubera, where I will have the chance to visit tomorrow in order to present the Award, meet the members, and learn about the conservation efforts that they carry out in such outstanding fashion.

I also wanted to dedicate a few words of acknowledgement to the quality of our Juries that, as in previous editions, have contributed their objective and disinterested judgement for the well-being and growing prestige of the Awards.

The satisfaction that we feel today has been tarnished by some dramatic events. I want to condemn with all my might the bloodshed that took place yesterday in Madrid in which innocent citizens lost their lives or suffered terrible mutilations as a consequence of a cowardly and heartless terrorist assassin.

For them, their families, and also for all those who have previously suffered at the hands of this mindless barbarism, my emotional remembrance and my solidarity goes out to you in these trying times.

The prosperity and the joy of communities flourish when values such as freedom, solidarity, education, creativity, love of work, capacity for sacrifice, and cooperation, exist in harmony within them.

It is fitting that we reflect on these circumstances in difficult moments. In order to overcome them, we must contribute all of our efforts and our collaboration without ever losing the hope of attaining a brilliant future for our Principality, to whose destiny I cast my lot with the rest of the Asturian people.

Just as with the loyalty that you always gave me, I join you now in order to reach that better future that I believe in and for whose attainment I promise you all my effort.

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