Prince of Asturias Prizes

Prince of Asturias Prizes
   The Prince of Asturias Prizes are administered and conferred by the Prince of Asturias Foundation, set up in 1980, whose President is the heir to the throne of Spain. There are eight prizes, each consisting of a sum of 5m pesetas, plus a reproduction of a sculpture by Joan Miró. The categories are arts, communication and humanities, international cooperation, literature, peace, scientific and technical research, social sciences and sport.
   The Prince of Asturias Prize is one of the most prestigious prizes awarded in Spain, and is often used to honour distinguished international figures as well as Spaniards. Previous winners have included the Spanish writers Camilo José Cela and Francisco Umbral, the Mexican novelist Juan Rulfo, and the Peruvian writer and former presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa; in the field of politics, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Isaac Rabin and Yasser Arafat; in sport, Sebastian Coe and Martina Navratilova; in the arts, Antoni Tàpies, Eduardo Chillida and Joaquín Rodrigo.
   The prizes are not confined to individuals, but may be awarded to groups and institutions. For example, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has been honoured, as has Médecins sans Frontières and an AIDS research foundation set up by Elizabeth Taylor. In 1998, a group of women who had worked for the advancement of women in various countries received the International Cooperation Prize. They included Graça Machel, Rigoberta Menchu and Emma Bonino. The 1997 winners were, for arts: Vittorio Gassman; communication and humanities: Václav Havel, for his writing and his contribution to peace, and the Cable News Network (CNN), for the quality of its reporting; international co-operation: the Government of Guatemala and the organization National Guatemalan Revolutionary Unity, for bringing to an end a thirty-six-year Civil War; literature: the Colombian writer Alvaro Mutis; peace: Yehudi Menuhin and Mstislav Rostropo-vich; scientific and technical research: the team investigating fossil remains at the Atapuerca site (Burgos, Spain); social sciences: the Catalan philologist, historian and literary scholar Martín de Riquer; and sport: the Spanish marathon team, for its performance in the Athens Games in 1997. The Prince of Asturias Foundation also fosters cultural and scholarly activity in other ways. It sponsors three choirs, funds activities specifically directed at preserving the cultural and environmental heritage of the Asturias region, provides grants for research and organizes conferences.
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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