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  • The FPdGi extolls the virtues of young people as role models for society and leaders of change at its 10th anniversary celebration

The FPdGi extolls the virtues of young people as role models for society and leaders of change at its 10th anniversary celebration

Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain presided over the 2019 FPdGi Awards ceremony in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Princess of Asturias and of Girona and Infanta Sofía.

    The Princess of Girona Foundation today extolled the virtues of young people as role models for society, as an inspiration for a better future and as leaders of change, in an event to celebrate its 10th anniversary and present the 2019 FPdGi Awards. The ceremony was presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses the Princess of Asturias and of Girona and Infanta Sofía, and held at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, in Barcelona, before a packed auditorium of 1,500 attendees.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen and Their Royal Highnesses presented the FPdGi Awards to the five new young people who join the more than fifty winners since 2010.This year, the Awards went to theatre director Rafael R. Villalobos (Arts and Literature), neurologist and entrepreneur Ignacio H. Medrano (Business), mathematicianXavier Ros-Oton (Scientific Research)and social entrepreneur Begoña Arana (Social). In this edition the Foundation also recognised, for the first time, the work of a young person on a global scale with its new International Award, which went to the cofounder of the international humanitarian organisation Humanity Crew, Maria Jammal. All of these young winners stand out for their professional and human achievements and share a desire to innovate in each of their areas of knowledge and transform the world with their efforts.

    The ceremony was also attended by the president of the Spanish Senate, Manuel Cruz, acting deputy-prime minister of the Government, Carmen Calvo, the Government delegate in Catalonia, Teresa Cunillera, the secretary of State for Universities, Research, Development and Innovation, Ángeles María Heras, the president of Barcelona Provincial Council, Núria Marín, the deputy mayor of Barcelona City Council, Jaume Collboni, the rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Elias, and the president of the FPdGi, Francisco Belil, among other authorities and respected figures, representing various organisations and Catalan civil society, as well as a large number of the Foundation’s trustees, most of whom are the CEOs of important Spanish firms.

    Speeches given by HRH the Princess of Asturias and of Girona and HM the King
    Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias and of Girona, making her first speech at an event held by the Foundation that bears her name, stressed that “everything this Foundation stands for is an honour because it focuses on young people’s present and their future”. Addressing the winners, HRH the Princess of Asturias and of Girona said that they “set an example for other young people by embodying the very best values that the Foundation is promoting from Catalonia”, and, “Together, you form a great family of talent, effort and hope”.

    The Princess of Asturias and of Girona, whose words were warmly received by the audience, promised that she would “bear with pride the title ofPrincess of Girona all over Catalonia, the rest of Spain and the world so that everyone would know that by taking care of young people we contribute towards building a better future for all of us”.

    In turn, His Majesty the King congratulated the winners, calling them “extraordinary young people”,and the Foundation, whose aim is, he reminded the audience, “to help our young people build a better future for themselves and for the society they live in”.

    And in Catalan, focusing his talk on Spain’s youth, HM the King underlined that attending the event today were “hundreds of young people, from Catalonia and many other parts of Spain, who represent a youth population that is concerned about and committed to its future”. His Majesty the King ended his speech by referring to the FPdGi’s tenth anniversary, saying: “The impact on thousands of young people’s lives made by the actions, initiatives and programmes promoted by the FPdGi in its first decade is extremely satisfying and fills us with pride”.

    Ceremony: the young role models
    The ceremony, stage-managed by this year’s winner Rafael Rodríguez Villalobos, and presented by conductor Andrés Salado, 2016 FPdGi Arts and Literature Award winner, paid tribute to Spain’s young talent, represented by the more than fifty people recognised by the Foundation over the past ten years. On stage, guided by Antonella Broglia, some looked back over the history of these awards for art, research, social work and business that were created, as Broglia pointed out,in the midstof the financial crisis to encourage and inspire young people, discovering the talent of other young people and raising awareness of the extraordinary things they are capable of doing.

    Nine winners from the FPdGi’s first decade, one from each edition, shared with the audience what receiving the award has meant to their personal and professional lives, as well as their commitment to society in their different spheres of activity, from the arts, to scientific research, social work and business, in the pursuit of a more sustainable, more egalitarian world that offers more opportunities to the most disadvantaged.

    Pau Garcia-Milà, 2010 Business Award winner for developing software that enables collaborative work from any computer, talked of the significance of this award, which allowed him to “continue doing what I am passionate about” and has given him the capacity to overcome any setbacks. Gynaecologist Pere Barri, 2011 Social Award winner for performing genital reconstruction surgery on the victims of FGM free of charge at Dexeus hospital, said that the award had given him “the energy to do a little bit more every day”.

    Researcher Guadalupe Sabio, 2012 Scientific Research Award winner, expressed her commitment to continue improving the future for obese people and stressed the important role of women in the sciences, in addition to the power of scientific thinking which, she insisted, “opens our eyes and sets us free”. Felipe Campos, 2013 Social Award winner, who works to reduce child poverty in L’Hospitalet, reminded the audience that if we all work together we can change the future and that there is hope. “We are all responsible for nurturing our childhood dreams”, he said.

    The winner in the same category the following year, Mohamed El Amrani, extolled the virtues of welcoming outsiders and living together in harmony as an art form that Spain excels in. Architect Olga Felip, 2015Arts and Literature Award winner, who champions habitable and sustainable architecture that brings us joy, encouraged young people to “embrace resistance and obstacles, because facing them is how we truly evolve and make progress”. Luz Rello, 2016 Social Award winner, urged young people to turn weakness into a strength, as she did with her dyslexia, which today has become her battleground and field of research.

    Engineer Héctor Gómez, 2017 Scientific Research Award winner, who has dedicated much of his career in computational engineering to predict the growth of prostate cancer, said that working in research requires continually heading towards the unknown, a challenge that calls for faith. Finally, scientist María Escudero, 2018 Scientific Research Award winner, focused the audience’s attention on the “climate emergency” that we have been in for decades. “We cannot wait any longer; change is possible”, she insisted.She also confirmed her commitment to continue working towards a sustainable future, and to increase the visibility of women in the sciences, encouraging other young people to follow in her footsteps, ending her talk saying “If I can do it, so can you”.

    Dialogue on science: Hugh Herr and Nathalie Munyampenda
    As every year, the award ceremony hosted an inspiring and thought-provoking dialogue. In this edition, US engineer Hugh Herr and Rwandan storyteller and activist Nathalie Munyampendatalked about the current limits of science, the commitment to inclusivity it must make in the future and its transformative capacity. Herr, who lost his legs while climbing and now builds bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs with the sole aim of eradicating disability in the world, stressed the need to develop technology that reflects human values and to keep citizens alert to prevent technology from being misused. “The lack of trust in technology that exists today is the result of it being used to manipulate”, he warned.

    Arab-Israeli lawyer and psychologist Maria Jammal, winner of the first FPdGi International Award, who gave a speech on behalf of all this year’s winners, said that it was “a great honour to now be part of the FPdGi family of awardees and to be recognised for our hard work and dedication as innovators and changemakers in our respective fields”.

    The cofounder of Humanity Crew, an organisation that raises awareness of the mental health problems suffered by refugees and creates solutions to them, added that “there is no way you can stop a human being searching for survival” and she stressed that young people “must all be one”. Jammal ended her talk by sharing three ideas with the winners: “Embrace everyone, as we are all human; change what you don’t like, step by step; and prioritise human interaction above technology, asking each other ‘How are you?’ much more often”.

    The ceremony also included live performances by Soleá Morente, 2018 FPdGi Award winner, together with Sole Giménez, a singer with a long and successful career and former vocalist in the group Presuntos Implicados, and sopranoAuxiliadora Toledano, 2013 FPdGi Award winner, accompanied on the cello by Pablo Ferrández, 2018 FPdGi Award winner.

    5 November: ‘Talent attracts talent’ and the challenges of the 21st century
    The Awards ceremony is followed tomorrow, also at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, by a packed programme of activities especially designed for young people. After an inaugural session, attended by Foundation trustees, winners and young people, and led by Julia Otero, the ‘Talent attracts talent’workshop will begin, offering the opportunity to learn, experiment and exchange knowledge on subjects such as leadership, entrepreneurship, critical thinking, communication, social network influence and developing talent, among other fascinating content.

    Pilar Jericó, Manuel Campo Vidal, Alberto Cairo, Beatriz Martín Padura, Julio Montes, Álex López, Javier Cañada, José Conejos, Marta Romo, Ana Torres and Xavier Verdaguer will be giving talks,workshopsand presentations in other original formats. Three hours of training and networkingduring which attendees will also be invited to use a speed-meeting and informal get-together zone, and, in the breaks, a space where 10th anniversary audiovisual content will be displayed.

    Young engineer and illusionist Jorge Luengo will close the 10th anniversary event with an interview with one of today’s most disruptive and unique physicists, Jess Wade, who believes that science still has a long way to go to catch up with nature, which has been creating perfect nanostructures for hundreds of millions of years.

    #10FPdGi, looking to the future
    Since 2009, the Princess of Girona Foundation has been promoting different programmes that seek to offer Spain’s young people the tools, knowledge, meeting spaces and opportunities to face the challenges of our society, with the help of leading business and social organisations that are involved in different initiatives.

    The FPdGi Award winners and the community they form today —which already includes almost 50 outstanding young people in various areas and disciplines— allow the Foundation to work towards increasing young people’s social presence and promoting these winners as role models for other young people. In addition, education as a driver of change, social transformation and the construction of critical thinking, together with improving youth employability, are also two of the Foundation’s principal concerns. A commitment to building a better and more sustainable world has, without doubt, been acknowledged by all —administrations, companies and society— and is being demanded by the youngest members of our society: in this context, the initiatives developed by the Foundation have taken on even greater significance and its focus on the future is to become a meeting space for all the stakeholders involved in addressing this challenge.





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