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UNICEF and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among 8 to pick up Prince of Asturias awards

UNICEF and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among 8 to pick up Prince of Asturias awards

The winners of this year's prestigious Prince of Asturias prizes _ U.S. author Paul Auster, film director Pedro Almodovar and UNICEF director Ann Veneman among them _ collected their awards at a colorful ceremony in the northern city of Oviedo on Friday.
The eight awards, given annually for outstanding contributions to areas ranging from the arts and science to sports and international cooperation, each carry a cash prize of euro50,000, or about US$62,000 and a sculpture by Catalan artist Joan Miro. A total of 301 candidates were considered for this year's awards.
The ceremony in Oviedo's Campoamor opera house was presided over by Spain's crown prince Felipe and his wife Letizia, with Queen Sofia present in the audience.
The communication and humanities award was presented this year to John Fahey, president of the U.S.-based National Geographic Society.
William H. Gates, father of computer magnate Bill Gates, received the international cooperation prize as representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"People are dying and we can save them," said Gates. "Sick people in the developing world are human beings."
Mary Robinson, Ireland's first woman president and a former U.N. high commissioner for human rights, was awarded the prize for social sciences.
"I think the prosperity that Spain and Ireland enjoy is due to the vitality of our democracies," said Robinson. "During the last decades, we have moved toward societies based on tolerance."
Auster won the literature prize, Almodovar the arts award and UNICEF was to be presented with the concord award.
"I don't know why I do what I do and if I did I probably wouldn't feel the need to," said Auster. "My drive is to write."
The Spanish national basketball team, currently world champions, received the sports prize. Spanish physicist Juan Ignacio Cirac Sasturain won in the science category.
The prizes are named for Prince Felipe, heir to the Spanish throne and are presented each fall in Oviedo, the capital of the northern region of Asturias.
Among earlier recipients are British scientist Stephen Hawking and Formula One car racing world champion Fernando Alonso.


Updated : 2021-10-26 08:58 GMT+08:00