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King Felipe hails the role of a free press in ”uncertain times”

King Felipe and Queen Letizia traveled to Barcelona to award the first edition of the La Vanguardia prizes, dedicated to people and entities that work in social, economic, political or cultural domains. 

Their Majesties arrived at the National Museum of Art of Catalonia in the evening of 18th September 2023, and were welcomed by state and local authorities, as well as some of the top officials in the Godó Communication Group, which is the editor of the “La Vanguardia” newspaper. 

The first event was the awarding of the two “In Memoriam” prizes, which were handed out to people close to the award recipients (Josep Piqué, an entrepreneur, and Juan Antonio Samaranch, the diplomat who brought the Olympic Games to Barcelona in 1992) by the President of Godó. 

Then the King and Queen took to the stage to hand out the awards in 6 categories: 

  • Female Entrepreneur of the Year, which went to Ms Sol Daurella, the President of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, “for their engagement with social equality and inclusion”;
  • Male Entrepreneur of the Year, which went to Mr Marc Puig, the President and CEO of the Puig Group, which has become one of the world’s biggest beauty companies; 
  • Innovation, which went to professor Ignacio Cirac, a quantum physicist, whose designs will help make the pharmaceutical production process quicker and more accurate; 
  • International Young talent, which went to Ms Alba Farelo, a singer/songwriter who won 21 platinum and 5 gold discs, as well as the “Best Artist” Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards; 
  • Culture, which went to Ms Lita Cabellut, a painter whose multidisciplinary techniques have allowed her art to be recognised all around the world; 
  • City Promotion, which went to Mr Grant Dalton, the CEO of the 37th edition of America’s Cup in sailing. 

But it was actually King Felipe’s speech that made an impression; after praising the history of the 142 years of the newspaper, he went on to speak about the importance of a free press for the creation and maintenance of a truly democratic society: “We live in uncertain times during which, despite the increased volume of information available in a more immediate way, truth seems to find it difficult to find a path. Because of this, it is more crucial than ever to have a free press that is dedicated to the truth, with the stringency of the search for it, and with the values that make up our democratic society”. 

After posing for a photograph with all award recipients, King Felipe and Queen Letizia made their way back to Madrid, where they are expected to officially open the new season of the Royal Theatre. 

The La Vanguardia prizes were created to celebrate the newspaper’s 140th anniversary, which fell in 2021; however, due to health safety restrictions, they had to be postponed until this year. From now on, they will be awarded annually, with winners chosen by a jury made up of illustrious names in the fields of social, economic, political and cultural policies. 

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