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The King and Princess Doa Leonor present the awards in a ceremony marked by the circular economy, the invasion of Ukraine and friendship.

Linares and Pags, in Campoamor.DAVID BUSTAMANTE

What are the Princess of Asturias Awards for? There are many possible responses that are not mutually exclusive: to recognize scientific, artistic and social merit, to give civil visibility to the King and Queen of Spain and their heiress, Princess Doa Leonor, to create a network of excellent friendships for with him Kingdom of Spain… All of this is true, but there is a less obvious but more interesting dimension: the record of each edition and the content of the speeches at the award ceremony also set the topics of public conversation, year after year.

Just yesterday that value could be verified at the Princess of Asturias gala that was held at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo. The environment, brotherhood among peoples, manipulation, resistance against authoritarianism… Those were the themes chosen by the winners in their speeches to the Royal Family.

Adam Michnik.
Adam Michnik.EFE

Throughout the week, Asturias hosted a succession of workshops, conferences, intimate or massive dialogues and shows starring the winners, culminating in the exciting reunion on stage of the dancer María Pags and the singer Carmen Linares, this year’s winners in the Arts category. Pags and Linares sang and danced again yesterday at Campoamor, a small improvisation on verses by Juan Ramn that was the counterpoint in a ceremony in which a clear alarm call resounded.

We behave, and manage our economy As if our resources never run out. We pick something up off the ground, we do something with it, and then we throw it away; we take, we make, we waste: it is a linear economy. It is an economic system based on extraction, massive waste and pollution, and therefore on destruction. The damage is all around us and can no longer be ignored, said Ellen MacArthur, Princess of Asturias Award for Cooperation and circular economy activist.

Juan Mayorga, upon arrival at the Campoamor Theater.
Juan Mayorga, upon arrival at the Campoamor Theater.

Of course, his SOS included a horizon of hope: What an achievement! MacArthur proposed. Being the generation that allowed future generations to pass on a healthier planet. A planet that has a prosperous economy that grows in harmony with nature, and not against it. We can do it.

Mexico and Spain are linked by indissoluble ties was the phrase that moved the audience at the Campoamor Theater when he took the floor Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences. The Mexican archaeologist used his speech to synthesize the history of Spain and Mexico from scientific rigor and intellectual maturity. From war and brotherhood, with all its contradictions. History shows us, throughout the centuries, that every war brings death, destruction, desolation, imposition, injustice and violence. Spain has experienced it firsthand. Mexico too. This is not forgotten, but neither can we anchor ourselves in the past and hold grudges, but rather look forward. In this, Mexico and Spain must move towards a promising future.

Adam Michnik, Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, also referred to Spain in his speech. Spain has been a role model for many Poles. The Spanish experience taught us to confront the dictatorship and seek a path to democracy through dialogue and consensus. It was necessary to make the force of arguments replace the argument of force, said the journalist, founder of Gazeta Wyborczathe great newspaper of the transition to Polish democracy.

Doa Leonor and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma.EFE

Michnik brought up the memory of the invasion of Ukraine and spoke of illiberal temptation, which he defined as the practice of contempt expressed in the language of the totalitarian left and right. One waves black flags and the other red. As a Polish poet wrote, ‘lfascists often change shirts‘. What both have in common is contempt for the most valuable of the European tradition: mercy, childhood, the Christian tradition and the reason of the descendants of the Age of Enlightenment.

By now, all the Princesses of Asturias had already collected their prize: the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, on behalf of the Refugee Olympic Team, Yann LeCun and Demis Hassabis, the pioneers of artificial intelligence who received the Princess of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research…

Ellen MacArthur.
Ellen MacArthur.EFE

Together with them, Juan Mayorga had an outstanding role, who read the first speech of the afternoon, the most emotional. The Princess of Asturias Award for Letters chose a more intimate tone, more aimed at narrating the amazement at the discovery of language and theatre. Mayorga spoke of his children and his parents, he spoke of Doa Rosita the single and of the works that aroused his curiosity in adolescence… To end in praise of friendship.

Among all the expressions of beautiful theatrical slang, my favorite is ‘company,’ said Mayorga. A friend whose interest is the history of words told me that ‘company’ originally named ‘those who share the bread’. Those of us who write theater do so, of course, to share with others. To share a time, a space, a vocation to examine life and, when there is one, a bread. For this reason, because theater is company, there are so many who today receive this award with me and thank those who give it to us.

Along the way, Mayorga narrated a very essential quasi-autobiography, in some way linked to baroque theater: Neither does the character that I present to you today -for whom on this occasion I did not find another interpreter willing to represent him-, neither does he feel safe. not to be dreaming. After being welcomed by people as affectionate as there are usually only in stories, he now shares the scene with admirable people in his important endeavors. Approaching them would already be, dream or not, a great prize.


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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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