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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 1993 Prince of Asturias Awards

We all know that it is very rare that one rises up alone to the highest summits, whether it be those on Earth or those of the soul. We always need the help of a guide or a companion to help us in these lovely adventures.

The thrill and happiness of meeting up again with my homeland and my loved ones and returning to Asturias gathers a special intensity for me in this ceremony in which Spain pays tribute to hope, sacrifice, spiritual creation and concord: to the primacy of moral and cultural values.

Today is the culmination of a year of careful attention to the flow of the swift, profound changes that have been produced in the world and to the thrilling movement of intellectual and artistic creation. Our Awards live on the most exemplary of this sap. The hundreds of candidatures, which arrive from all parts of the world, are the response to that spirit and those circumstances. Later, the magnificent juries hand over to us the fruit of their free and fair endeavour. I am deeply grateful to them.

This gratitude I would like to extend to the persons and institutions from whom the Foundation receives permanent displays of collaboration and generosity, as well as to those who are spontaneously sending contributions, donations and legacies to its patrimony.

We have much faith and hope placed in the work of the Foundation. Therefore, when we raise our eyes excitedly to the future, we remember those illuminating verses by Pedro Salinas:

Don´t reject dreams just because they are dreams,
Every dream can be a reality,
if the dream doesn´t end.

Ramón Pérez de Ayala, that great writer born in this city, exhorted men never to forget to rise up to the highest summits of the soul because it was from there that the most beautiful and unknown horizons could be seen.

We all know that it is very rare that one rises up alone to the highest summits, whether it be those on Earth or those of the soul. We always need the help of a guide or a companion to help us in these lovely adventures.

The magazine "Vuelta", Prince of Asturias Award Winner for Communication and Humanities, founded and managed by the Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz, is today an exceptional guide for the cultural high flying in the Spanish language. "Vuelta" is above all the most genuine expression of the thoughts and desires of its founder, a plural writer who, born in México, is patrimony of us all.

"Vuelta" is a symbol of the defence of the freedom, richness and unity of the arts in the Spanish language, and a solid, independent and incorruptible voice against all types of oppression. The brightest lights of our times illuminate its pages and, without its presence, something encouraging and profound would be missing in our cultural field.

The at times forgotten vocation of the University to be the home of teaching at its highest, of basic research, of theoretical reflection, of aesthetic creation and ethical contribution, must be revitalised. A creative University which also faces up to the real problems in Society, which lives close to its most immediate needs and which is capable of rising up and foreseeing the challenges of our times.

This idea of the University was demanded time and time again by Severo Ochoa, an upright and unforgettable Asturian, who contributed so much to the development of our Science and to whom the Foundation, to which he gave such prestige through his loyal devotion, owes so much. His exemplary life and his scientific teaching have left a way of stimulus and hope for Spanish youth.

Professor Amable Liñán, Prince of Asturias Award Winner for Technical and Scientific Research, is the best example of that university that we want. His work, based on the solution of mathematical problems associated with basic and applied aspects of the Mechanics of Fluids, makes him one of the most brilliant theoreticians in this area in the international field. The application of his theories to combustion is recognised by the present day authorities in the material, who do not hesitate to point him out as a master.

In his work centre at the Polytechnic University of Madrid he is loved by his students and respected by his colleagues. They all admire his unselfish dedication to teaching, the high level of this teaching and his human quality as a simple, solidary man and an tireless worker.

From the Cuba which was so closely joined throughout history to the feelings and affection of the Spaniards, there comes the example of a man who is today a symbol for all the young people who are lovers of sport in all the countries in which our language is spoken.

Javier Sotomayor, Prince of Asturias Award Winner for Sport, represents the mythical challenge of the human being to better himself. Since the early days of his youth, this extraordinary sportsman has made sacrifice and renunciation, the foundations of a life dedicated to sport, in which he has reached the highest levels amidst respect and admiration, always being a friend of his friends, generous to everyone and humble at his success.

His presence here today gives me the opportunity to send my warmest greetings to all Cubans.

The Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences to Silvio Zavala extols the profound, extensive research work of this great historian, born in that country which we love so much, México.

Doctor Zavala understands history as a tireless dialogue with the past in order to enlighten its enigmas and, at the same time, he considers it unrenounceable to say what is believed to have been found. In his untiring research work objectivity and profoundness, intellectual precision and coherence stand out.

Father Las Casas, to whom Zavala dedicated some brilliant research, wrote that the right understanding of problems is only achieved "if you dig very deeply until you find the foundations".

Silvio Zavala has dug very deeply until he has found the real history of the presence of Spain in America after the discovery. In this way he has knocked down many cliches, slanted interpretations and misunderstandings about one of the most thrilling adventures of mankind in which the Spanish had the leading role.

Therefore his contribution to the brotherhood between the Spanish American peoples will remain among us as the best legacy from this man who has always wanted to educate in truth and honour.

"We have learnt to fly like the birds, to swim like the fish, but we have not learnt the art of living together, like brothers". These fine words from one of the pioneers of the defence of human rights rise up accusingly in the presence of the bloody, intolerant, hate-filled events which are destroying the former Yugoslavia.

There, the soldiers from the United Nations, the Blue Helmets, the Prince of Asturias Award Winners for International Cooperation, are carrying out a humanitarian task which has saved many lives, relieved suffering and many times has been the only source of hope amid despair and fear. Their hazardous mission, together with that of the non governmental humanitarian organisations, is the highest expression of solidarity and reminds us of the words of the Spanish bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, who wrote that "only he who suffers with those that suffer, he who loses in favour of those that have not, he who risks himself with those who live with the risk of death, only he is solidary".

It fills us with pride to know that among these soldiers are those of our Army, who, as His Majesty the King recently said, have tried to always be where there were most innocent victims, setting an example as opposed to those who caused them.

We are moved by the self-denial, valour, dignity and generosity with which they carry out their mission. They have managed to unite even more closely the Spanish people with their Army. The sacrifice of some of them, resulting even in their death, has deeply moved all of us, and that is why I send them my heartfelt best wishes. Let them know that more beautiful words remain in my soul as an intimate tribute to them and their families.

The voice of Claudio Rodríguez, Prince of Asturias Award Winner for Letters, comes to us from the harsh, austere and bright Castilla. The magnificent, beauty of his verses and the message of his metaphors are founded in the intimate and the universal. The fields, paths and lanes in Castilla know his footprints and from the contemplation of the countryside and the social reality of his land rises up his song, so human, so profound, with moments of intense tenderness.

The return to the places of his childhood, as essential in his poetry as the mystery, is a search for simplicity, innocence, purity, friendship, love, in this way his voice digs up a river bed, along which flow ethical values, essential for peaceful, fertile coexistence. All this reaches deep inside of me.

In the search for the essence of architecture, and for spaces to make man and the citizen happier, the architect Francisco Javier Saenz de Oiza, Prince of Asturias Award Winner for Arts, has spiritual base for his work. He believes that the architect must always go further, in a tireless, tenacious search. From that also comes his very personal conception of architecture for which he has gained international admiration and respect.

Architecture is his real passion, the very essence of his life; and that passion has no other artistic or aesthetic codes than those of his own creativity. It is also important to emphasize his vocation for teaching and in this task he has the admiration of his students who see in him an excellent creator and a great humanist.

The seed sown one day in a street in Bilbao is today an outcry in the Basque Country. The role played among the Basques by the Gesture for Peace Coordinator, Prince of Asturias Award Winner for Concord, shows that it is a fact, as has been written, that sowing is what matters, even though at times the frost or the North Wind may ruin flowers and fruit.

It is easier to incite hatred that to banish it and Gesture for Peace is doing much to banish hatred and to make concord prosper and bear fruit in that dear land. Your are the representatives of the nobility of a people which is fighting without arms in order to obtain a more peaceful and fairer society, as we have said. You are fighting against fear and for freedom, because wherever there is fear, real freedom cannot exist.

From this ceremony, which is so resolutely inspired in the extolling of the best in human beings, I unite my voice to those who are crying out reconciliation and end to violence.

Once more, I would like to express my adamant verdict on terrorism. Upon remembering all of its victims, I dedicate an emotional remembrance to the last, whose death affects us all today so directly. From here I convey the testimony of my profound sorrow to his widow and family.

Fortunately, in that dear land the time of fear is over; now the time of hope is beginning.

I have mentioned the word concord several times during my speech. It sums up the life and work of my grandfather, Don Juan de Borbón, since he dedicated his greatest efforts and sacrifices to building the Spain for all Spaniards. I feel great sadness when I notice that he is no longer here. I well know with how much interest and affection he followed this Award giving ceremony which carries my name. Therefore, that call to the heart which is at times remembrance has today in me an echo of nostalgia, love and loneliness. A loneliness only lessened by the conviction that his absence is not silence; his moral legacy and his permanent call for unity and reconciliation will remain amongst us for ever as a living flame of love for Spain.

I will return to the United States to continue my studies full of hope. Once again I will take with me unforgettable experiences and emotions. I´m sure that there I will remember these dearly loved verses which I learnt one day here:

Agora,
nun te suaño yá.
Nun me fai falta preguntar por ti.
Pertiénesme yá equí,
Endientru to alma,
Asturies,
Patria querida.

(Now
I no longer dream of you
I do not need to ask the about you.
You have me here
inside your soul.
Asturias,
Beloved homeland)

Thank you very much.

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