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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Instituto Caro y Cuervo

Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 1999

The Instituto Caro y Cuervo is an official Colombian University-styled institution involved in scientific research and higher education. It was founded in 1942 to continue and to update the works of the great nineteenth-century Colombian philologists, Rufino José Cuervo and Miguel Antonio Caro. Its general aims are to promote research in the fields of linguistics, philology, literature, the humanities and the history of Colombian culture and it has established many research groups and organised a whole series of congresses and teacher/researcher exchanges to further this aim. From its very outset, the Institute acquired well- deserved prestige for its attention to, teaching of, and research into the Spanish language, and for its ability to act as "a uniting force for the admirable variants of our language that exist world-wide."

Their crowning work was to complete and publish the "Diccionario de Cuervo", in memory of the philologist who began the task in 1872. This diccionary -described by Gabriel García Márquez as "the novel of words" - was presented in Spain by Ignacio Chaves Cuevas, the director of the Instituto Caro y Cuervo, in July 1995 at a solemn act presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain, in the presence of Fernando Lázaro Carreter, at that time director of the "Real Academia" (the Royal Academy).

The Institute also publishes a vast number of texts - including extraordinary studies on the Spanish of Puerto Rico and other areas of Latin America - and boasts a well-stocked library of over 180,000 volumes. In the sphere of teaching, the Seminario Andrés Bello enjoys enormous prestige for its postgraduate studies in Spanish linguistics and Latin American literature. The Institute has three centres - two in Bogotá (Casa de Cuervo and Chapinero) and one in the borough of Chía (Yerbabuena), described in the award proposal made at the time by the University of Salamanca as "an oasis of Spanish phililogy, disseminating the finest, state-of-the-art methods throughout large areas of Spanish America, as well as working painstakingly to promote knowledge of the rules of correct language use." Over and above its executive structure, headed by Ignacio Chaves, the institution has a board of directors chaired by the Columbian Minister of Education.

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