OVIEDO, Spain – Spanish King Felipe VI handed out the Princess of Asturias Awards during a ceremony on Friday in which he said a spirit of concord and strong ideals were essential in creating a better world.
This year’s individual recipients of the Asturias prizes were American war photographer James Nachtwey (Communications and Humanities), English classicist Mary Beard (Social Sciences), American biophysicist Hugh Herr (Scientific and Technical Research), Spanish triathlete Javier Gomez Noya (Sports), American novelist Richard Ford (Literature) and Spanish theater and television actress Nuria Espert (Arts).
The award for International Cooperation was conferred on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, while Austrian-based international development organization SOS Children’s Villages won the prize for Concord.
In his speech at the awards ceremony at the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo, Felipe said this year’s honorees were a reminder that strong and solid ideals have formed the basis of all of the world’s great scientific, political, social and artistic projects.
The king said of the Paris Agreement reached last year under the UNFCCC that global unity in the fight against climate change was essential to averting serious problems associated with the rising temperature of the planet, adding that the solution cannot be unilateral.
Along with 50,000 euros (about $54,900 at the current exchange rate) and a sculpture by Joan Miro, each award winner received a diploma and an insignia bearing the Princess of Asturias Foundation’s coat of arms.
Established in 1981, the prizes have been awarded to luminaries such as English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Argentine-born pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim and prominent organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wikipedia and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
They are regarded as the Ibero-American world’s equivalent of the Nobels.