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Words by Her Royal Highness  

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Words by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias at the 2022 Princess of Asturias Awards Ceremony

I am very happy to return to Asturias yet another year to present these Awards, which show that excellent work, constant effort and a sense of responsibility lead to great results.

In a few days I will be 17 years old. And I assure you that discovering the work of our Laureates helps me better understand the world around us. Their work spurs me –spurs everyone really– to keep learning. I have read about each one of them and I am impressed with what they have achieved. I care and am interested because I know that your work, your efforts, look to the future while influencing the present.

I care that two exceptional artists remind us that flamenco is a living, rich, powerful, universal art… our art. A refined art in which María Pagés and Carmen Linares achieve the harmony of those who evolve and at the same time maintain the essence of tradition.

It matters to and has an impact on me that Adam Michnik is not afraid to practise responsible, rigorous journalism. The fact that, despite his stark personal experiences, this journalist, historian and great advocate of Democracy works for reconciliation between his fellow citizens and the most optimistic Europeanism demonstrates his exemplary spirit.

It matters to me that the anthropologist and archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has devoted his life to reconstructing and documenting with great scientific rigour what life was like for the inhabitants of pre-Hispanic Mexico. He reveals the past to us so we may understand what we are and what ancient and current societies have in common.

I care that the playwright and academic Juan Mayorga thinks that theatre is the art of gathering together –and so the art of the actor-spectator relationship– and that theatre helps us examine real as well as possible lives. It is also important to me that this Award serves so that art, culture, Mayorga’s special philosophical and mathematical perspective may be afforded the value they deserve and help us ask ourselves questions.

It matters to me that our Laureates in Science research Artificial Intelligence, because these are technologies that are already with us today and which will continue to allow us to advance in this field; so that machines may be Humanity’s allies and make life easier for us. Hinton, Hassabis, Bengio and LeCun have shown that the social impact of Artificial Intelligence needs resources and attention.

I also care and am very concerned that athletes cannot train or advance their career because they have been forced to flee their country. That is why it is such a great initiative that, thanks to the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation, athletes in this situation have had the opportunity for some years now to continue their pursuits in order to compete in the Olympic Games.

And it matters to me that architect Shigeru Ban cares about people who have lost their homes as a result of war, hurricanes or earthquakes; and that he provides them with solutions to live without having to give up the right to privacy and dignity. He is also a reference in terms of sustainable materials.

And I also care that Ellen MacArthur has managed to get governments, scientific institutions, major companies and society to work together to make better use of natural resources, to propose solutions to avoid the loss of biodiversity and to explain to us how a circular economy works and what its advantages are.

It matters to me, in short, that we are all here celebrating and learning, and that we recognize our Laureates in the best spirit that these times need. That is why I thank all of you who support the Princess of Asturias Foundation in so many, many ways for your efforts and support.

We young people are aware that the current situation is not easy, that the world has changed and continues to change, and that the best way to move forward is to maintain the enthusiasm to learn, to equip ourselves with a sense of responsibility and a capacity for effort; to learn from those who know, those who do what they do impeccably, often silently. For this reason, on days like today, listening to, admiring and recognizing the excellence of our Laureates makes us feel that things can always change for the better.

Thank you very much.

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