FPdGi Awards

María Escudero speech

28/06/2018

Your majesties, authorities, friends, a very good evening to you all.

I am deeply overwhelmed to be here and to be able to say to you, on behalf of all the award winners, thank you very much!

Life is a series of very tough moments and other sweet and unforgettable ones. This evening we are sharing together one of those precious moments that will definitely be remembered always.

Thanks to the Princess of Girona Foundation and the different juries who chose our work, we find ourselves here today, six young people who are passionate about what we do and are immersed in committed and innovative projects that excite and motivate us; projects we believe in and that we work and fight for every day.

I am a scientist —and from Extremadura, just like my much-admired Guadalupe Sabio, who preceded me on this stage six years ago. Since I was a child, my parents have always transmitted the idea that science is progress, that science is health and wellbeing. But science is also culture, and it is the future. And the future we build together must be sustainable.

In 2015, while I was doing my post-doctorate at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change was held in Paris. During the summit, 195 countries signed an agreement to implement all the policies necessary to take action against climate change. I remember the joy, the optimism and the hope I felt at this historic agreement. And electrochemistry, my great passion, plays an essential role in the transition towards a sustainable and clean energy model.

However, today I am here to talk to you on behalf of my fellow award winners, who are also working hard to build a better world:

  • So, Guillermo is researching new porous materials that can be used in various applications, among them separating gases, which is also of interest in sustainable energy.
  • José Miguel, with his company Bound4Blue, is attempting to revolutionise maritime transport with his system that replaces fossil fuels with renewables.
  • Soleá, who, with her music, her voice and her performances, submerges us in a unique universe of vibrant sounds and infinite emotions.
  • Pablo, who, with his cello, provides sublime and unforgettable performances that pluck the heartstrings of those who stop to listen.
  • Arancha, totally convinced that a fairer world is possible, and particularly concerned about childhood, has created a technological solution with the aim of identifying and protecting millions of street children all over the world.
  • Article 1 fights for young people, focusing on their training, career guidance and professional development in an environment of equal opportunities.

We have only made it here thanks to the people who have accompanied us on our journey. First of all, our parents, who prioritised our education and training, had faith in us and reinforced our dreams. We would also like to thank our teachers, for teaching and guiding us. And our families, our partners and our friends, for their unconditional support, their continuous affection and understanding. And also those around us at work, we thank them for making our day-to-day life easier.

As a woman scientist, allow me to also to thank the women who came before me and who opened up a path in all areas of life, and not forgetting those whose colleagues made invisible. To all of them: thank you for inspiring us.

Some young people who left Spain, and that includes me, did so full of excitement, with our sights set on continuing our education in other environments. From there still, in my case, from the University of Copenhagen, we have not stopped calling for greater investment in science, and insisting that scientists be respected and listened to and that a great Pact be made with Science, as this will form the basis of development in our country.

All of us want to help change the world; an ambitious challenge, yes, but possible. We have the necessary knowledge and the tools. We need to be heard, like the Princess of Girona Foundation is doing, so that society becomes more aware of the importance of our challenges.

The enormous recognition represented by the awards we are receiving today gives us strength to continue working tirelessly. We trust that, thanks to the importance of these awards, we will become more visible and be able to transmit what we do, our dedication, our excitement and our hope to many more people.

Young people, we mustn’t forget that this life is a journey filled with courageous, fair and balanced decisions, designed to build a nicer world.

Let us be an example of perseverance and intense work to guarantee a better world for future generations.

Thank you.

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C. Juli Garreta, 1, 1r E   17002 Girona   (Spain)
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