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Palabras de Su Majestad la Reina en la investidura como Doctora "Honoris Causa" de la Universidad de Nueva York

EE.UU.(Nueva York), 31.10.2000

Mr. President,Mr. Dean,Professors and Students,Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to begin this heartfelt Response by expressing my gratitude for the most generous words proffered by all previous speakers.

Today will become one of my most treasured memories. I feel honoured and privileged to stand here in this fine building, being surrounded by you all, scholars and friends, and having been invested Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa by one of the most prestigious Universities on ear

I accept this honour as the Queen of a modern, democratic Spain, a country that for the last quarter of the twentieth century has lived in freedom, reconciled with itself; a modern society that welcomes the winds of change; a dynamic economy that ranks among the first ten in the world; and a people that, within the next few weeks, will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the crowning of King Juan Carlos I, my husband, in an unprecedented state of well-being, regardless of the inevitable problems common to free, open societies.

Although this is not my first Honorary Doctorate, I deeply appreciate this distinction from one of the greatest academic institutions of the world: New York University, a recognized pioneer in many fields and the hallmark for excellence in pedagogic systems and home of so many superb scholars. A University in which this splendidly alive, energetic and creative City can proudly recognize itself.

I am aware that some remarkable Spaniards have previously received from New York University the recognition of their excellence, besides the King of Spain himself: Dr. Severo Ochoa, Nobel Prize winner, is the most recent, preceded by the historian Juan Pablo Fusi, and such illustrious musicians as Andrés Segovia and Pau Casals. I could not have wished for better company among my countrymen.

We, contemporary Spaniards, so tightly bound together to the Hispanic world by culture and by language, can ignore nothing of what this population can dream, hope and imagine.

There are other facts that make this Degree particularly endearing to me: in this University there is not only a Chair that bears the name of my husband, but also the King Juan Carlos I Center which has become, since its creation in 1997, a stage for studying and displaying not only the history and culture of Spain, but also all the culture created and written in Spanish, in all its variety and richness. The many programmes of New York University and the King Juan Carlos I Center play a prominent role in bringing to Americans the reality of contemporary Spain. Therefore, in the name of our country, I thank you for what you are doing so well, and I encourage you to do even more.

Moreover, in 1990 my daughter Cristina took a graduate course in International Organizations at New York University, an experience she throroughly enjoyed and has later proved most useful for her professional and official activities.

I am also conscious that I have received today a Doctorate  in Humane Letters from an institution that educates and does research in a country that has prided itself on being able to promote, to champion and to assimilate change in unprecedented degrees. A nation that periodically reinvents itself and can be best defined by its constant impetus for innovation. A society in constant mobility, that has courageously taken the leading role in chartering new paths in all fields: the sciences and the arts, technology and philosophy, business and organization of human activity. In all quarters of life you can name a US intellect that has propelled imagination and creativity into reality, and help change forever and for better the life of Humanity.

Also remarkable is the US capacity for melting different currents of inmigrants into the mainstream of its national life. This is not a matter of tolerance only; it is an intelligent attitude that secures the influx of new citizens capable of helping to maintain the momentum of this society to be at the forefront of the world.

Among these groups of new Americans let me, of course, single out those whose mother tongue is Spanish. I am well aware that the United States of America is today the fifth Spanish speaking country in the world, and that the millions who now live within your borders and can be called Hispanics will become in a few decades the largest minority in the United States of America. We, contemporary Spaniards, so tightly bound together to the Hispanic world by culture and by language, can ignore nothing of what this population can dream, hope and imagine. To conclude, allow me to make a brief consideration on the role of Universities worlwide. The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset spoke of education and research as being the essential elements of the modern university. The top research universities in the United States, such as New York University, excel in carrying out this double mission, and have added a third one: public service.

In this rapidly changing world, the university remains one of the few institutions where it is possible to take a break from mundane concerns, where there is time to reflect on history and culture, to think of what makes us really human, to search for our roots and to ponder about our destiny. This is not to say that the university should be an ivory tower. On the contrary, it must be involved in human affairs and the problems of the day, through its search for knowledge, for long-term progress and lasting solutions.

The university strives to serve society in its unique way: by eliminating, through education, the barriers that prevent us from being better human beings, individually and collectively. The university brings light to its students, men and women alike, and eliminates the handicap of ignorance. But it also illuminates society, helping it to bring down the barriers of prejudice and intolerance. The social and cultural integration that takes place in the university is an example to be followed by the society at large.

I want to finish this Reponse with words of gratitude. And confiding to you that I feel encouraged to persist in the path I have followed till present times: to lend my support to culture, arts and education. To help all projects regarding development of and assistance to the underprivileged. To impulse the improvement of society at large and of the disadvantaged in particular. To assist in all efforts to promote equal opportunities for women. To come to the rescue of the youth from the evils of fast times. After today, I owe it to you to feel more determined than ever.

My most sincere and warm "thank you".

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