PRINCESS OF ASTURIAS AWARDS – “We can find very simple solutions to big problems. Let’s feed the world with hope”

Oviedo has once again experienced the Princess of Asturias Awards as it was used to. The pandemic meant that last year the ceremony had to be held without an audience and at the Reconquista Hotel, but, in its forty-first edition, the event has once again taken place in its usual setting: the Campoamor Theater.

The Kings Felipe and Letizia, along with the Princess of Asturias, Leonor, and the Infanta Sofía have presided over a ceremony where the chef José Andrés, the artist Marina Abramović, the swimmer Teresa Perales, the journalist Gloria Steinem, the writer Emmanuel have been awarded Carrère, the economist Amartya Sen, the NGO Camfed and the researchers Katalin Karikó, Drew Weissman, Philip Felgner, Uğur Şahin, Özlem Türeci, Derrick Rossi and Sarah Gilbert.

Flags of Spain and flags of the Republic

The rain has not calmed down the spirits of celebration in the city of Oviedo, which culminated with this ceremony in a week full of cultural events. In the streets, banners in favor of the monarchy and against were the prominent elements among the crowds that gathered around the Reconquista Hotel and the Campoamor Theater. Oviedo sounded to the rhythm of the more than twenty bands of bagpipes that were distributed throughout the area to receive the royal family and the winners upon their arrival at Campoamor. In the Plaza de La Escandalera there was no lack of songs in favor of the Republic. “Asturies nun tien rei”, shouted some attendees while others applauded the arrival of the monarchs and their daughters.

Return to Campoamor

The Campoamor room was once again recovering its lost essence with about 60% of its capacity and about 700 people who received the entrance of the royal family with applause, seated next to the president of the Principality, Adrián Barbón, and that of the Princess Foundation from Asturias, Luis Fernández-Vega. As every year, Queen Sofía did not want to miss the event attended by several ministers among the different authorities.

Fernández-Vega opened with his speeches at a ceremony marked by optimism and overcoming COVID-19. The president of the foundation wanted to celebrate the return to the Campoamor Theater “which symbolizes that we are overcoming the disasters of the pandemic”, in the words of Fernández-Vega himself. In addition, he highlighted the commitment of the autonomous community of Asturias to the Spanish monarchy: “This ceremony is proof of our loyalty to the Spanish crown, which has been put to the test on so many occasions,” he added.

Gloria Steinem: “I have hope again”

After the words of the president of the Foundation, it would be the turn of the winners. In his speech, the writer Emmanuel Carrère, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, recalled the attacks in Paris in 2015 that caused 131 deaths. “Some risked their lives to protect strangers,” he commented in reference to the victims. “This trial serves to collectively explore these precincts of our hearts,” he added in relation to the judicial process that began on September 8.

Gloria Steinem: “More men began to meet their own children”

The French writer’s witness was collected by the journalist and writer Gloria Steinem, Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities. In his words, he highlighted the positive aspects of the pandemic and the confinement for social life. “More men started getting to know their own children and discovering what full-time childcare entailed,” Steinem said. That, he stressed, sometimes caused the “ties” that gender roles create to be released. “In our origins, everyone had to take care of and take care of children. The patriarchy grew when we became sedentary.” This was expressed by the journalist who also wanted to lament the negative consequences of confinement, which brought with it an increase in sexist violence: “That was a tragic lesson,” she added. However, he also wanted to close his speech with a message of positivity after the pandemic. “I have hope again.” One of the leitmotifs of this edition.

In her speech, swimmer Teresa Perales, Princess of Asturias Award for Sports, stressed the ability of human beings to get up in the face of difficulties by recalling their trajectory. “You have to decide what you want to be and go for it, without letting obstacles prevent you, at least, from trying.” After overcoming “fears and shame” he said that he went out with his wheelchair and that today he has 27 medals in the Paralympic games.

José Andrés: “Let’s build longer tables”

The intervention of the Asturian chef José Andrés, Princess of Asturias Award for Concord, was one of the most anticipated and the most applauded. A speech against hunger in the world and against all kinds of discrimination. The chef, head of the NGO World Central Kitchen, has highlighted “the power” of a plate of food to create unity “and not higher walls that keep us apart.” He has also remembered his journey in gastronomy, since he opened his first restaurant and where he learned that neither food nor people’s lives should be wasted. “People do not want alms, but respect,” he stressed.

Hurricanes, tsunamis or forest fires are the scenarios in which chef José Andrés has worked together with his NGO. Also in the pandemic “providing more than 60 million meals.” “Dish after dish, you can find very simple solutions to big problems. This is the way of thinking of many immigrants,” reflected the chef, who has been “proud” of being “an immigrant of the world.”

He concluded his speech with words of affection for the victims of the La Palma volcano. “My heart goes out to them. They should not be forgotten at this time. Let’s feed the world with hope. Let’s build longer tables,” he has settled.

“The fragility of the values ​​of democracy”

King Felipe VI has starred at the end of a ceremony centered on a message of hope. However, the monarch has recognized in his speech “the fragility” of the values ​​of democracy, “whose vigor and validity always demand a firm, permanent, constant and conscious defense”, in the words of Felipe VI.

Felipe VI: “Democratic values ​​are not given to us and their validity always demands a firm, permanent, constant and conscious defense”

He has also left a complaint message. “Violence, discrimination, the lack of opportunities and the retreat still towards situations that seemed to be overcome” are a sign that to this day they still continue to suffer “conflicts that endanger everything that has been achieved and question the legitimacy of principles that they are inalienable “. In this way he has spoken when addressing the award-winning Gloria Steinem.

Felipe VI has also highlighted his work and that he has no “doubts” about “equal rights between human beings”, describing his commitment as “essential” for a world “in balance and fairer”. A world where vaccines, he stressed, reach every point without exceptions, as he has concluded in reference to the pandemic. The final closing of the ceremony, like each edition, has been provided by the Real Banda de Gaitas Ciudad de Oviedo with the interpretation of the hymn of Asturias.

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