Spain’s version of the Nobel Prizes were handed out today, in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo. The heir to the Spanish throne, Crown Prince Felipe, personally handed the prizes to each recipient. The awards are named after his official title, the Prince of Asturias.
Before giving the awards out, Prince Felipe told the audience the reasons why the recipients were chosen this year. They were picked for their “spirit of sacrifice, for their exceptional qualities, but also, for their human values,” said the Prince.
The recipient for the award for Sports was the number one ranked tennis player in the world, Spain’s very own Rafael Nadal. He was all smiles as he received his award. Prince Felipe called Nadal a ”great tennis player” and “a great human being.”
“Rafa has stated that the important thing is not to be a good athlete, but a good person.”
Other winners include Google, for the Communications prize. Four African organizations were rewarded for their fight against malaria with the Award for International Cooperation, and Bulgarian philosopher Tzetan Todorov received the prize for Social Sciences.
Venezuela’s Youth and Children Orchestra was awarded the Prince of Asturias prize for the Arts, which was picked up by its president Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu. Canadian author Margaret Atwood was rewarded for her work with the Letters Award. The Scientific and Technical Research Award went to one Japanese and four US scientists for their innovative work in nanotechnology.
But the highlight of the ceremony was when the Concord award was given out. That went to former Colombian presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt. Earlier this year, Betancourt was released from the jungles of Colombia after six years being held hostage by rebels.
“For a hostage, Christmas is the worst time of year,” she said. “Some of my friends are calling for everyone around the world to march altogether on one day, before Christmas, on the 28th of November, to call for all of Colombia’s hostages to be freed. From here, a world where we have everything, I am asking for you to reach out to those who have lost everything,” said Betancourt, to loud applause.
The Prince of Asturias awards have been handed out since 1981. A committee chooses the winners based on their qualities as human beings, and their contributions to their fields.