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King Felipe hands out law prizes in Madrid’s newest rights centre

Without even taking a break after returning from London, where he attended the Coronation of King Charles III, King Felipe of Spain took part in a ceremony during which he awarded the World Peace & Justice Prize and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Honour Medals on behalf of the World Jurist Association and the World Law Foundation. 

His Majesty arrived at the Rule of Law Digital Centre Madrid on Monday, 8 May. He was welcomed, among others, by the Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders, and the President of the World Jurist Association and World Law Foundation. 

The day’s first block consisted of a roundtable discussion, “Breaking the glass ceiling in the Law World,” which followed an intervention by the President of the World Jurist Association. 

It was then time for the first awarding of medals of the event: the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Honour Medals, the jury presided over by the late US Justice’s daughter. They went to Navi Pillay, Brenda Hale, Asifa Kakar, Imrana Jalal, and Ambiga Sreenevassen, five women who have excelled in the field of law. The host for the session called upon King Felipe, Minister Llop and Commissioner Reynders to get onto the stage to present the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Medals. 

Since the World Law Congress is an international affair, the Madrid session was just an opening act for the event, which is taking place in New York and was presented with, among others, a video message from former US President Bill Clinton. 

It was then time to inaugurate the Rule of Law Digital Centre Madrid, the World Law Foundation’s newest quarters, an event for which the President of the World Law Foundation, Vivian Reding, offered a few words. 

Then it was time for another prize: the World Peace & Liberty Prize, which was awarded to Andrew Young, a historic figure in the fight for civil rights in the United States. Words of praise for the recipient were offered, among others, by his son. The laudatio (praise) was read by the former President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernández. 

Mr Young received the prize on the Madrid stage from King Felipe, who, following speeches from the award recipient himself and the EU Commissioner for Justice, offered a few words. 

The King’s speech was delivered entirely in English; in it, he said in part: “This year, the WLC returns to the country where the association was born, and to the UN’s Headquarters, under the title “Peace through Law”. The Association plays a priceless international role in promoting this ideal, fostering a worldwide conversation about law.”

He continued: “Mutual learning and the exchange of ideas and legal concepts is crucial in order to build a global legal consensus based on −and thereby recognising− the inherent dignity of all people.”

The final block of the event was a photograph with Mr Young and all award recipients, a tour of the Rule of Law Digital Centre Madrid and the signing of the guest book in the Andrew Young Room. 

The World Peace and Liberty Award and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Honour Medals are awarded by the World Jurist Association, which, together with the World Law Foundation, organises the annual World Law Congress. 

The Madrid session served as a prequel to the main event, which will take place in New York on 20 and 21 July; the Spanish capital was chosen to host this event, as the awards ceremony was also used to inaugurate Madrid’s Rule of Law Digital Centre, the first in a series of structures that the World Law Foundation plans to open all around the world to promote rights and justice. 

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