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Emilio García Gómez

Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 1992

Emilio García Gómez (Madrid, Spain, 1905 - 1995), 1st Count of Alixares (7th October 1994, Official Gazette of Spain of 7th October 1994), is considered the foremost Spanish Arabist. He graduated in Philosophy and Arts, specializing in Arabic, and later earned his PhD at the Universities of Cairo and Baghdad and was the first director, from 1932 onwards, of the School of Arabic Studies, in Granada. He was also editor in chief of El Andalus, a literary research magazine on the Arab language.

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He held a Chair in Arabic Language and Literature at Madrid’s Complutense University and headed the Miguel Asín Institute, belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (Spanish acronym, CSIC). Author of an extensive bibliography that includes numerous editions, translations and studies on Arab literature, in 1930 he published his book on Muslim poetry entitled Poemas arabigoandaluces [Poems of Arab Andalusia], which earned him worldwide recognition as one of the leading authorities in the field. As a translator, he was probably the first in the country to translate three masterpieces into Spanish: El collar de la paloma, Todo Ben Guzmán and El filósofo autodidacta. Other works of his include El libro de las banderas de los campeones [Pennants of the Champions], Las jarchas romances and Foco de antigua luz sobre la Alhambra.

In 1958, he chaired the UNESCO Advisory Committee for the East-West Major Project in Paris. That same year, Emilio García Gómez was appointed Ambassador of Spain to Baghdad, his diplomatic career subsequently continuing in Beirut and Ankara. He was an adviser on Arab affairs and formed part of the delegation of Arab heads of state who visited Spain.

García Gómez was a Full Member of the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, of the Royal Spanish Academy of History, which he headed from 1988 to 1995, and of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), “Favourite Son of Andalusia” (1988), “Adoptive Son of Córdoba” (1990) and holder of the Gold Medal of the City of Granada, besides receiving honorary degrees from several European and Arab universities. He was bestowed with the French Legion of Honour and numerous other awards and prizes, such as the Menéndez Pelayo International Prize (1988) and Spain’s National History Award (1989).

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