Miriam Reyes Oliva has won the 2017 FPdGi Social Award. The winner’s name was announced today at El Hueco in Soria in an event attended by more than 300 people and presided over by Her Majesty the Queen of Spain. The jury announced its decision this afternoon, highlighting the award winner’s personal career, which has focused on solidarity and social impact by seeking equal opportunities and solutions in the complex area of autism. According to the jury, Miriam Reyes brings a new vision to the social sector by managing shared knowledge with an innovative, scalable and sustainable project.
The jury was formed of Sebastián Mora, General Secretary of Caritas Spain; Antoni Bruel, General Coordinator of the Spanish Red Cross; José Moncada, founder of La Bolsa Social; Roser Batlle, pedagogue and social entrepreneur; and Mercedes Valcárcel, General Director of the Tomillo Foundation.
Miriam Reyes Oliva, who had decided to come to Soria for the event, was visibly moved on hearing the news. “Thank you so much on behalf of the 64 million children with autism. This award has come at the perfect moment, because it is now five years since we set up our NGO ‘Aprendices Visuales’. We always say that our NGO may be small but it has a big mission: to ensure that children with autism have the tools they need to develop their potential to the maximum”, she said. In addition, next Sunday, 2 April, is World Autism Awareness Day.
The award winner’s biography
Miriam Reyes Oliva (Cadiz, 1986) studied architecture at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Sevilla and holds a Master’s in communication from the Universidad Europea de Madrid. After working as an intern at the prestigious studio of Herzog & de Meuron in Basel (Switzerland), she returned to Spain to complete her degree final project, a school of music and dance in Burkina Faso. This project was built a year later in cooperation with a local association and involved developing specially adapted construction techniques. It was during this period that Miriam set up ‘Aprendices Visuales’, a small NGO with a big mission: to ensure that children with autism have the tools they need to develop their potential to the maximum. Aprendices Visuales works in three main areas: research, developing visual material and raising social awareness. This NGO has received recognition in various forms, such as the Nestlé Prize for Solidarity, the UNICEF Emprende award and the Ashoka ChangeMaker X Change award.
The FPdGi Social Award, which last year went to linguist and doctor of computational science Luz Rello for her inspiring fight against dyslexia using cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology, recognises young people who have used their personal leadership skills and commitment to successfully create and promote social projects with new approaches and tangible achievements through social entities or businesses.
The event in El Hueco in Soria
The announcement event for the 2017 Princess of Girona Foundation Social Award began at ten o’clock in the morning with a workshop designed by entrepreneur Xavier Verdaguer (Imagine Creative Center) who set the participants the following challenge: How can we stop depopulation in Soria? The young people taking part divided up into teams and worked against the clock with just 100 minutes to design a project that would successfully resolve the problem they had been presented with. The winners of this ‘ideas marathon’ were the RepoblARTE team who proposed creating a network of cooperatives that would help increase the number of inhabitants in Soria’s towns. The aim would be for the cooperatives to offer new inhabitants a place to live and land to cultivate. The members of the cooperative would produce organic products.
After the workshop ended, presenter, actor and director Àngel Llàcer led a panel discussion about the social projects some of the previous winners of the Princess of Girona Foundation Social Award have participated in, including Mohamed El Amrani (2014 edition) and Felipe Campos (2013 edition). Campos reiterated that “we can all create a better world” and encouraged the participants not to “lose their passion for working to make it possible”. Mohamed El Amrani, in turn, said that receiving the award in 2014 had changed his life. “Almost overnight, the projects I was working with gained a great deal of visibility, it was a great loudspeaker”, he assured the audience.
The FPdGi Awards tour kicked off on 16 March in Córdoba with the announcement of the Arts and Literature award which recognised artist Juan Zamora for his aesthetic approach and choice of basic materials which allow him to create a polyphony of meanings not bound to just one culture. Zamora, who defines himself as a “nomadic and multifaceted artist” combines digital visual art with sculpture, installations and drawing. The route then moved on to Barcelona, where civil engineer Héctor Gómez Díaz was presented with the 2017 Scientific Research Award for his contribution to the development of mathematical modelling and algorithms for numerical simulation in computational engineering that can be applied to provide personalised predictions of prostate cancer growth.
After stopping in Córdoba, Barcelona and Soria, the FPdGi Awards tour will arrive in Santander on 6 April in an event held at the Botín Foundation where the name of the winner of the Business category will be announced. The Awards tour will end on 24 April in Figueres with the announcement of the winner of the 2017 Princess of Girona Foundation International Award.
The Princess of Girona Foundation Awards, with a prize of €10,000 and a reproduction of a sculpture by Juan Muñoz, recognise the innovative and exemplary work of young people aged between 16 and 35 years, and that of an organisation in the European Union working for young people. The awards will be presented on 29 June in a ceremony presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain at the Girona Conference Centre.