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Hispanic Society of America

Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2017

Speech by Philippe de Montebello, chairman of the board of the Hispanic Society of America.

Your Majesties, Distinguished Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Chairman of the Board of Trustees and on behalf of The Hispanic Society of America, it is a tremendous honour to receive from the hands of His Majesty The King the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation. This award is a recognition of universal significance for the important mission of The Hispanic Society to foster the appreciation and study of Hispanic art, literature and culture as a whole around the world.

Museums and libraries are essentially the depositories of the highest achievements of humankind. In the global world in which we live, culture is one of the fundamental avenues for cooperation in political, economic, and social relations. Museums and libraries like The Hispanic Society facilitate understanding of the cultural and intellectual diversity of ancient and modern civilizations.

This understanding is even more important today in a world fragmented by conflicts that demonstrate a lack of appreciation of our common cultural heritage. With a view to promoting greater knowledge and appreciation of Hispanic culture, The Hispanic Society has worked together with other institutions and researchers for more than a century in this important undertaking, The Hispanic Society has facilitated access to its huge collection, among which one might highlight outstanding canvases by Sorolla representing a comprehensive vision of the regions of Spain. We do so via publications, exhibitions, academic exchanges, and now over the Internet as well. And I would go so far as to state that a visit to The Hispanic Society’s library, whether in person or online, is essential for any researcher who intends to conduct a serious study on the Hispanic world.

The Hispanic Society is currently the only international institution to offer, via its unrivalled collections of great stature and scope, a panorama of the history and culture of the Hispanic world embracing four thousand years. Today, The Hispanic Society looks to the future with ambitious plans to expand and modernize its facilities, broaden its educational programmes, make its collections available in digital form and continue to work with others via cultural exchanges and international exhibitions. The aim of all these initiatives is to guarantee the vitality and success of its second century of existence, promoting broad-ranging international cooperation in the Hispanic world.

The Princess of Asturias Award is without doubt the most prestigious award we could receive and truly encourages and inspires us to continue building this future of vital importance for Hispanic studies and Spanish culture in the world.

I am therefore both thrilled and deeply grateful to accept this distinguished award on behalf of The Hispanic Society of America and its commitment to the knowledge of Hispanic culture in the United States and the Americas.

Translated by Paul Barnes.

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