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El Colegio de México & Juan Iglesias Santos

Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 2001

The Colegio de México

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The Colegio de México was founded in 1940. Its predecessor had been the Casa de España, which was set up by Lázaro Cárdenas, the President of Mexico, to take in scientists, humanists, writers and poets who went into exile in Mexico and continued their teaching and research work there during the Spanish Civil War. Contacts established between famous names from Spain such as Daniel Cossío Villegas, León Felipe, Luis Recasens Siches and José Gao and their Mexican counterparts, great names from the world of the Arts and Science such as Alfonso Reyes, Gustavo Baz and Eduardo Villaseñor, made the Colegio one of the most reputable academic centres of Latin America from its very outset. The College is a research and teaching centre that develops human resources to the highest level in several areas of the Social Sciences and Humanities; it also publishes books and reviews on work-related topics, as well as participating alongside other national and international organisations in joint projects.

This State-run institution has managed to maintain certain Spanish traits without ever failing to be totally Mexican and acted as centre-point for Spanish culture when diplomatic relations with Spain did not exist. It has been one of the most prominent protagonists of educational processes and modernisation in both Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. During its fifty years of existence it has played a key role in integrating Latin America into wider and loftier circles of knowledge and culture.

Since 1997 the Colegio de Mexico has had the Azaña Chair, which is endowed by the Spanish government, and has strengthened links between both countries. Its work is organised around seven study activities: History, Linguistics and Literature, International Studies, Economics, Demographics and Urban Development, Asian and African Studies, and Sociology. Teaching and the development of human resources are both closely linked to research interests, and the College offers six Doctorate programmes, four Masters programmes, two First Degree courses and four courses on specialised subjects, with student intake from both Mexico and abroad, in particular from Latin America. The College publishes some one hundred texts yearly, and their centres regularly produce national and international reviews.

Juan Iglesias Santos

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Juan Iglesias Santos (Las Veguillas, Salamanca, Spain, 1917  – 2003) earned his doctorate in Law from Salamanca's Universidad Pontificia, where he began teaching as assistant lecturer at the age of 18. He has been Professor of Roman Law at the Faculty of Law of Madrid's Complutense University since 1953, and is now its honorary dean. He has been researching and teaching intensely for almost sixty years, and has been a member of the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation since 1980.

He published widely on Roman Law, and his texts include 'Roman Law. History and Institutions', a basic tool for thousands of Spanish and Latin American undergraduates, 'Roman Law. The Institutions of Private Law' (1950), which received international acclaim, and 'The Spirit of Roman Law' (1980). He is also the author of more specialised texts, 'Historical-Legal Miniatures' being one of the most outstanding of them. His literary activity is not limited to this discipline and nothing else. Juan Iglesias Santos published an autobiographical novel with the title 'Don Magin, teacher and martyr', as well as writing for publications like "La Gaceta" and "ABC".

He is a permanent member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of Naples, the honorary president of the Spanish Society of Roman Law, and a member of the Société Internacionale des Droits de l'Antiquité. The Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X el Sabio, in the category 'for merits in the field of teaching' figures amongst the honours he has received.

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