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Joaquim Veríssimo and Miquel Batllori i Munné

Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 1995

Joaquim Veríssimo Serrão

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Joaquim Verrísimo Serrão (Santarem, Portugal, 1925 - 2020) was one of the most important researchers and scholars of Portuguese history, an outstanding medievalist and author of a great number of works on the XIII to XVII centuries and the role played by the Portuguese in Europe in that period.

After six years as reader at the University of Toulouse, Veríssimo Serrão obtained his doctorate from the University of Coimbra and began a phase of research which has still not come to an end. In 1967 he was appointed as director of the Portuguese Cultural Centre which the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation had created in Paris, staying five years at the head of that centre. Among his most outstanding works are the "Historia do Portugal", which began to be published in 1977, and various works on his specialised field (the history of universities), as well as the "Itinerário do Rei Dom Sebastián". Dr. Veríssimo Serrão has been decorated in his own country with the National Order of the Cruzeiro do Sul, the Gold Medal of the City of Santarem and the rank of Commander of the Order of Public Instruction of Portugal.

Miquel Batllori i Munné

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Miguel Batllori y Munné (Barcelona, Spain, 1909 – Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain, 2003) graduated in History and Law in 1928 -scarcely 19 years of age- subsequently entering the Society of Jesus and studying Philosophy and Theology, graduating with both degrees and being ordained a Priest in 1940. Father Batllori was a PhD in History, has been the director of the Historical Institute of the Society of Jesus, in Rome (1954-1958), he ran the Roman periodical Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu (1951-1969 and 1074-1981) and was a teacher, professor and, since 1981, emeritus professor of Modern History and the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome.

A great lover of and researcher into all things Catalan -which led to his being sent to Majorca for six years as a "punishment"- he was at the same time a representative of Catalan culture´s talent for integration in Spain. Batllori was the author of a great number of books, works of research and articles on historical matters, of which we could perhaps single out titles such as Vuit segles de cultura catalana a Europa. Assaigs dispersos (1958), Gracián y el barroco -one of specialities- (1958) and La cultura hispanoitaliana de los jesuitas expulsos: epañoles-hispanoamericanos-filipinos (1966), among others. He also gave classes and lectures all over the world.

He was a member of the Madrid Royal Academy of History since 1957, father Batllori received a great number of prizes and acknowledgements of his work. Thus, he held the Grand Crosses of Sant Jordi and Alfonso X the Wise, The Gold Medal of the Catalan Regional Government, the National History Prize (1988) and the Prize of Honour for Catalan Letters (1990). A member of numerous historical academies, he belonged, among others, to the Bureau of the International Committee of Historical Sciences, to the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi, the Royal Academy of Letters of Barcelona and the Institute of Catalan Studies, among many other institutions. He was a member of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (1970-80).

He was awarded honorary degrees by the Universities of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, the Spanish University of Distance Education (UNED) and the Faculty of Theology of Catalonia.

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