The Princess of Asturias Foundation was founded in the city of Oviedo on 24th September 1980 at a formal ceremony presided over by His Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias, heir to the throne of Spain, who was accompanied by his parents, their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain.
The essential aims of the Princess of Asturias Foundation are to consolidate links between the Principality and the Princess of Asturias and to contribute to encouraging and promoting scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of mankind’s universal heritage. With this purpose, the Princess of Asturias Awards were initiated in 1981, divided into eight categories (Arts, Social Sciences, Communication and Humanities, International Cooperation, Technical and Scientific Research, Literature, Sport and Concord).
H.R.H. the King of Spain, Felipe de Borbón, presents these Awards each autumn at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo. Each of the eight international recipients are awarded 50,000 euros, a specially commissioned Joan Miró sculpture, a diploma and an insignia.
The award presentation ceremony of Princess of Asturias is considered as one of the most important cultural events in the international agenda. Throughout its history, these awards have been honoured with different recognitions, such as UNESCO’s declaration in 2004 acknowledging the extraordinary contribution of these awards to mankind’s cultural heritage.
The categories and latest awards of The Princess of Asturias awards Laureates are given to:
Arts: Ricardo Muti, Richard Serra, Norman Foster, The National Network of Youth and Children Orchestras of Venezuela, Bob Dylan, Pedro Almodovar, Maya Plisetskaya & Tamara Rojo, Paco de Lucía, Miquel Barceló, Woody Allen, Krzyszlof Penderecki, Barbara Hendricks, Santiago Calatrava, Rafael Moneo,Michael Haneke or Francis Ford Coppola among others.
Communication and Humanities: María Zambrano Alarcón, Mario Augusto Bunge, Diario El País, Claudio Sánchez Albornoz, José Ferrater Mora, Grupo de Comunicación O Globo, Diarios «El Espectador» y «El Tiempo» Horacio Sáenz Guerrero, Pedro Laín Entralgo and Fondo de Cultura Económica de México, Luis María Ansón, Misiones Españolas de Ruanda y Burundi, Agencia EFE, CNN, Umberto Eco, Jean Daniel, National Geographic Society, Google, Nature & Science, The Royal Society, Annie Leibovitz or Emilio Lledó Iñigo among others.
Literature: Leonard Cohen, Amin Maalouf, Ismaíl Kadaré, Margaret Atwood, Amos Oz, Paul Auster, Nélinda Piñon, Claudio Magris, Fatema Mernissi & Susan Sontag, Arthur Miller, Doris Lessing, Augusto Monterroso or Gunter Grass, Philip Roth or Leonardo Padura among others.
Sports: Haile Gebrselassie, The Spanish National Football Suad, Yelena Isinbayeva, Rafael Nadal, Michael Shumacher, Spain’s National Basket Team 2006, Fernando Alonso, Hicham El Gerrouj, Le Tour de France, The Brazilian Football squad, Manuel Stiarte, Lance Amstrong, Steffi Graf, Iker Casillas and Xavi Alonso or Pau and Marc Gasol among others.
Social Sciences: Howard Gardner, The archaeological team of the Warriors of Xiam, David Attenborough, Tzvelan Todorov, Ralf Dahrendorf, Mary Robinson, Giovanni Santori, Paul Krugman, Jurgen Habermas, Anthony Giddens, Marta C. Nussbaum or Esther Duflo among others.
Technical & Scientific Research: Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, Joseph Altman & Giacomo Rizzolatti; Scientific leaders in the battle against pain, Martin Cooper & Raymond Samuel Tomlinson; Scientist leading the world in creating new materials in the service of humanity, Peter Lawrence & Ginés Morata, Gregory Winter and Richard A. Lerner or Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna among others.
International Cooperation: Bill Drayton, The Transplantation Society and The Spanish National Transplant Organization, World Health Organization, The Malaria Research and Training Centre, Al Gore, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Simone Veil, The European Union’s Erasmus Programme, The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement or Wikipedia among others.
Concord: Heroes of Fukushima, Manos Unidas, The city of Berlin, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall; Ingrid Betancourt, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem; Unicef, The Daughters of Charity of Saint Vicent de Paul, The Way of Saint James, J.K. Rowling, Spanish Food Bank or the Orden Hospitalaria San Juan de Dios among others.
Exemplary Town of Asturias Award
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Foundation, a new Award was established in 1990 that differs both in character and nature to the Prince of Asturias Awards, namely the Exemplary Town of Asturias Award.
The award shall be conferred on the town, village, population centre, scenic area or group of people in the Principality of Asturias that has stood out in a notable way in “defending and conserving its natural or environmental setting, its historical, cultural or artistic heritage, or in the carrying out of outstanding communal works or other such displays of solidarity”.
The annual call for nominations for the Award has been a great success in terms of participation throughout the region, no doubt encouraged by the fact that the Prince of Asturias himself travels each year to the place receiving the Award to get to know it, spend some time with its residents and present them with the cash prize of twenty-five thousand euros conferred with the Award.
Music Department and International Music School
Also as part of its endeavours to contribute to fostering culture at its highest levels, the Prince of Asturias Foundation created a Music Department in 1983, whose honorary conductors are Jesús López Cobos and Krzysztof Penderecki. The Department boasts three choirs and an International Music School.
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