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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la cena con los americanos premiados con el Príncipe de Asturias

Nueva York, 10.10.2003

P

lease allow me to briefly interrupt this delightful dinner for a few minutes to express a few thoughts about the significance of this extraordinary gathering.

I am especially pleased to see once again some of our distinguished recipients with the Prince of Asturias Awards that are with us tonight. On evoquing the special times we spent together in Asturias, I feel it is never so true that there are certain moments in our lives that will always remain treasured in our memories. I would like to mention, in particular, my fond memory of Edward Said who had confirmed his presence here among us tonight. His very recent passing away has saddened us greatly but his memory will never leave us.

As you well know, the Prince of Asturias Foundation is firmly committed to the task of promoting the arts and developing a spirit of universal harmony. We are convinced that there can be no frontiers to the quest for peace and progress amongst all cultures and all peoples.

At these difficult times for humanity, when all too often violence and lack of solidarity are the norm, the Prince of Asturias Awards represent our hope and certainty that the basis for a complete life and the aspiration for a more fraternal and peace-loving humanity both lie in ethics, passion for freedom and justice and in the promotion of intellectual and artistic creation.

For these reasons, we consider you our most qualified ambassadors to the world in that you dignify our Awards and the work of our Foundation. Your dedication and effort and the example you set continue to enhance the work recognized in you by the Awards.

You have seen for yourselves how close you are to our hearts and to the heart of Spain, and you have seen how proud and delighted we are to include you in our prestigious list of award-winners.

Just as it was then, it is also a great pleasure (and I am so happy it was possible) to meet this time in the unique city of New York; a place that means so much to humanity, at a time when it has just recalled, with pain, but also with strength and hope, the tragic day when it was so deeply hurt by hatred, fanaticism and terror. This universal city, with its blazing torch of Liberty serving both as a permanent symbol and a guide for so many people, with its civic spirit, its capacity and resolve to overcome difficulties, and its openness, represents everything that is common to us, everything that brings us together.

We therefore celebrate with joy this gathering in the light of our hope and our responsibilities. There is nothing in this world nor in the endeavours of human beings that comes easy. As the great North American writer, Emily Dickinson, who created her work in solitude not far from here, we believe that (in her words) ?advance is Life?s condition...?

Allow me to say a word of thanks in the name of all of us here tonight to Ambassador Arias, who has so graciously offered us his warm and generous hospitality.

It is a great honour to bring all you the respect and admiration you inspire in my fellow Spaniards together with the heartfelt gratitude of all Asturians for your visit to their region that will always make them proud and identified with your work.

I am especially pleased to be able to express these feelings across the Atlantic Ocean, in this great country, the United States, and in the American continent to which the Spanish nation is united by tight, indestructible bonds, by a very strong feeling of brotherhood.

Over the centuries, Spain has been a source of cultures, and over the centuries it has also aimed to blend with other peoples. Here in this great country we find so many important traces and examples of this historic trend. We could actually consider tonight?s event part of our desire for integration and brotherhood based on mutual respect.

I trust that the examples that your lives and works represent ? like the liberty that this city represents ? will prevail for ever.

Thank you very much.

Torneu a Discursos
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