Eleanor of Bourbon has returned to our country from his boarding school in Wales to preside the 41st edition of the Princess of Asturias Awardswhich are delivered this Friday in the Campoamor theater in Oviedo. The daughter of kings Felipe and Letizia had been out of Spain for two months, specifically since the end of August, when she had to head back to the United Kingdom to start the second year of Baccalaureate.
In this context, if there is a moment that generates more expectation in this awards ceremony, it is the speech of the heiress. This is the fourth year that the 16-year-old has pronounced it from the lectern and before millions of spectators who follow the gala from home. Since she made her debut three years ago on the same stage where her father had made it almost four decades ago, it is one of the most analyzed and commented scenes of the day.
The princess has once again captivated, in addition to her dazzling look, with some mature and interesting words that have moved to Paloma Rocasolanohis maternal grandmother.
Leonor’s full speech at the 41st edition of the Princess of Asturias Awards
“I am very happy to return to Asturias for another year to present these awards that show that excellent work, constant effort and a sense of responsibility have great results. In a few days I will be 17 years old, and I assure you that I will discover the work of our winners helps me better understand the world around us. Their work pushes me, all of them really, to keep learning. I’ve read about each one of them, and I’m impressed by everything they’ve achieved.
I care and am interested, because I know that your work, your efforts, look to the future and influence the present. It matters to me that two exceptional artists remind us that flamenco is a living, rich, powerful, universal art, ours. A cultured art in which María Pagés and Carmen Linares achieve the harmony of those who evolve and at the same time maintain the essence of tradition.
It matters to me and it shocks me that Adam Michnik is not afraid to do responsible and rigorous journalism. This journalist and historian, a great defender of democracy, works for the reconciliation of his fellow citizens despite his hard personal experience and for the most optimistic Europeanism, which demonstrates his exemplary spirit.
It matters to me that the anthropologist and archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has dedicated his life to reconstructing and documenting with great scientific rigor what life was like for the inhabitants of pre-Hispanic Mexico. He reveals the past to us to understand what we are and what ancient and current societies have in common.
That the playwright and academic Juan Mallorga thinks that theater is the art of encounter and that it helps us examine real lives and possible lives matters to me. And also that this award serves so that art, culture, the special philosophical and mathematical view of Mallorga are valued as they deserve and help us ask ourselves questions.
It matters to me that our winners in science investigate artificial intelligence because they are the technologies that are already with us and that will continue to allow us to progress in this discipline. For machines to be allies of humanity and make life easier for us. Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, Yann LeCun, and Demis Hassabis have shown that the social impact of artificial intelligence needs resources and attention.
I also care and I am very concerned that an athlete cannot train and progress in his career because he has been forced to flee his country. That is why it is a great initiative that, for a few years now, athletes in this situation have had the opportunity to continue their activity in order to compete in the Olympic Games thanks to the Refugee Olympic Team and its foundation.
And it matters to me that the architect Shigeru Ban cares for people who have lost their homes due to war, hurricane or earthquake and that he offers them solutions to live without having to give up the right to privacy and dignity. He is also a benchmark in the use of sustainable materials.
And I also care that Ellen McCarthur has managed to get governments, scientific institutions, large companies and society to work together so that natural resources are used better, that she proposes solutions to prevent the loss of biodiversity and that she explains to us how it works and what they are the benefits of the circular economy.
Ultimately, it matters to me that we are all here celebrating and learning. And that we recognize that our winners are the best spirit that these times need. That is why I thank all of you who support the Princess of Asturias Foundation in a thousand ways for your effort and generosity. Young people are aware that the current situation is not easy. That the world has changed and continues to change, and that the best way to progress is to maintain the enthusiasm to learn, equip ourselves with responsibility and capacity for effort and learn from those who know, from those who do their thing impeccably, often silent. That is why, on days like today, listening to, admiring and recognizing the excellence of our winners makes us feel that things can always change for the better.”