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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en el almuerzo con motivo de la entrega de la "Wharton School Dean's Medal"

Madrid, 25.06.2010

S

r. Secretario de Estado,

Dean of Wharton School,

Chairman of the Forum& Chairmen of the Lat-Am& Spain Wharton Boards,

Chairmen, CEOs and Managing Directors of International Companies,

Wharton Board and Professors,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Señoras y señores,

Permítanme que antes de comenzar mis palabras, exprese nuestro profundo pesar y nuestra tristeza por el fallecimiento de 13 jóvenes en la estación de Castelldefels, en el Baix LLobregat, Barcelona. Todos compartimos el dolor de sus familias, a las que queremos transmitir nuestro cariño y solidaridad en estos momentos tan difíciles. A los heridos, algunos en estado crítico, les deseamos que se recuperen bien y lo antes posible.

Thank you for your understanding. And now I shall continue in English:

It is indeed a great pleasure and a privilege to participate, together with the Princess, in the closing -or farewell- luncheon of this highly appealing Global Alumni Forum organized by Wharton, the oldest Business School of the United States and the pearl of Pennsylvania University. Thank you so much for your kind invitation and warm welcome.

Allow me first of all to tell you how pleased I am that this Forum is being held in Spain for the first time. As you know our country has a long-established tradition in postgraduate studies and is home to some of the best Business Schools in the world (three in the top 20 list). The Forum is very inspiring at this crucial period for the future economic model of our globalized world. A changing world, with a shifting centre of gravity as a result of -among other factors- technological progress and the push of emerging economies.

I'm quite sure you are aware that you visit us in very... interesting and challenging times, to put it mildly! However, I do hope you are having an enjoyable, and also fruitful stay among us; and that Madrid's vitality hasn't worn you out too much. May be after tonight if you stay around...

By the way, good for the US team at the Football World Cup in SA, a historic advance that will certainly draw much more attention to this sport over there; a heads-up for the marketing, media and publicity experts. Tonight, mind you, Spain's team is up for a big test; we need to show some more teeth and perform as expected at the out start of the Cup, but yet to be fully displayed. GO SPAIN!!

But what I really need to say pretty quick, before you start thinking that I have totally lost it, is... THANK YOU!! I am so deeply thankful -and feel truly honoured- by this Wharton School Dean's Medal you have granted me. The history, the meaning, the list of previous recipients, and the prestige of the School, all make this award worthy of the highest consideration; while at the same time it makes me feel equally -or proportionally- small.

I believe I make number 42 on the list, but I trust matching my age was not considered as a plus in my CV. Nobel Prize winner? not quite. Former or sitting Head of State? Haven't even reached that stage. Chairman or CEO? Not in my genes... Then, what pinnacle am I sitting on? Well, none is really my answer; or more precisely: none yet. Don't take me wrong, but, all the lovely, ego-boosting items you have so generously cited when presenting me are, one way or another, building blocks of a profound, long term, life lasting objective and devotion: to serve the nation and my compatriots the best way I can, with the tools and resources I have at hand, and with the huge heritage and example that precedes and guides me.

This distinction that I am so delighted to receive also encourages me to continue working to enhance the growing academic and business ties between the United States and Spain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During these two intense days you have addressed issues and sectors of critical importance for our economies in a period marked by the impact of an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Its causes and swift resolution are a primary focus of attention for all our countries.

At the Wharton School, and among the participants in this Forum, are some of the most qualified experts who can offer analyses and answers to all those questions. In this respect, Business Schools currently play a crucial role. Our societies need men and women that are increasingly better educated who can embrace values, effort and merit, while also contributing to achieve a sound and sustained growth. We need entrepreneurs who are prepared to compete with a profound sense of social responsibility, and to make their companies profitable by creating wealth and jobs on a long term basis.

I am pleased that you have been able to assemble a sizeable and select group of Spain's business and financial leaders at this Forum. The excellence of the speakers and of the Spanish companies represented here reflects the high level of education, experience, international presence and outlook that define our entrepreneurs and businesses.

I also wish to congratulate the organizers of this event from both sides of the Atlantic who, for the first time, have brought together in one single Forum the Wharton Boards of Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This dialogue -which as you have explained, is intended to highlight the Bicentennial of the Independence of the Latin American Republics- has added to the Forum's success.

My knowledge of Wharton's prestige and quality goes back to my days as a graduate student at Georgetown University's Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, and also through a number of your Spanish alumni present here today. With nearly 100.000 alumni, it is undoubtedly an institution of reference. Founded in 1881, the Wharton School is not only the first Business School in the United States -and one of the world's most renowned- but also one which proves, year after year, its devotion to serve society through its teaching activities and by organizing Forums of alumni from different countries and continents who are committed to economic and social progress.

For all these reasons, let me insist that I am especially honoured and grateful to receive this prestigious Dean's Medal, not only because it is Wharton School's highest distinction, but because you have so generously decided to include me among a very distinguished list of personalities awarded for their outstanding contribution to peace, development and the creation of wealth for our societies.

I thank Dean Robertson for his very kind words. Words of friendship and generosity to which I would like to reciprocate, also with my commitment to further promoting, among others, the values and objectives that you have mentioned. I am also profoundly moved by what this Medal represents in terms of acknowledging the work of the Prince of Asturias Foundation since 1980, and of that of the more recent Prince of Girona Foundation, aimed at supporting young people's education, talent and entrepreneurship, and at helping the neediest and most vulnerable people.

Once again, una vez más, gracias por elegir España para albergar este Foro Global o Cumbre Mundial de Wharton y por darnos la oportunidad de compartir con todos vosotros este almuerzo de despedida. We wish you a safe trip home and every success in your further efforts to promote such enriching gatherings among the Wharton School alumni.

Thank you very much. And now, let's enjoy our lunch.

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