The Princess of Asturias Awards have existed since 1981. Before 2014 these prizes are called Prince of Asturias Awards, but the name changed in honor of Leonor Princess of the Principality of Asturias. The awards are given by the Princesa de Asturias foundation which aims to contribute and promote scientific, cultural and humanitarian in a universal scope.
There are 8 award categories:
- Communication and Humanities
- Social sciences
- International cooperation
- Scientific research.
Over its history there has been 2 Irish Princess of Asturias awardees.
Mary Robinson – 2006 Social Sciences Laureate
Mary Robison was the 7th President of Ireland serving from 1990 to 1997, she was first woman in the role!. Following her career as president, she was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and after that Robinson has been Chacellor of Trinity College Dublin, founding member of “the Elders” (with Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel and Desmond Tutu among others). Throughout her career Mary Robison has had an outstanding contribution to human rights and equality.
In 2006, Mary Robison was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award in Social Sciences.
The Princess of Asturias Jury appreciated the Mary Robison “had devoted her intense life to the struggle to overcome the obstacles that prevent many from exercising effectively their human rights” equally that she “promoted the attainment of balanced international relations, and to the consolidation of humanist principles in our era´s globalized world” and concluded that she “ offered her non-conformist, brave and far-reaching voice to those who cannot speak for themselves or can barely be heard.”
Her speech can be found here : https://www.fpa.es/en/princess-of-asturias-awards/laureates/2006-mary-robinson.html?texto=discurso&especifica=0
John Banville – 2014 Literature Laureate
John Banville is a novelist, short story writer and adapter of drams and screenwriter. He has won numerous international awards and he is elected fellows of the Royal Society of Literature. John Banville was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 for his novel The Book of Evidence and won it in 2005 for The Sea. He has written a number of crime novel under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black. In the past he worked in the Irish Times and contributes regularly to the New York Times.
He is considered a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Princesa of Asturias jury highlighted Banville’s prose: g “Each of his works attracts and delights for his skill in developing the plot and his mastery of registers and expressive nuances, as well as for his reflections on the secrets of the human heart. “
His speech can be found here : https://www.fpa.es/multimedia-en/videos/speech-by-john-banville-in-the-2014-ceremony.html