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PRINCE OF ASTURIAS AWARDS

“Spain is a great nation and worth fighting for,” Felipe tells ceremony

Photographer Annie Leibovitz among Prince of Asturias Awards winners

Annie Leibovitz receives her award from Prince Felipe.
Annie Leibovitz receives her award from Prince Felipe. EFE

Prince Felipe, accompanied by Princess Letizia and Queen Sofía, handed out the 2013 Prince of Asturias Awards in Oviedo on Friday. This year’s eight winners of the 50,000-euro prizes were Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina (Literature); Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke (Arts); Dutch sociologist Saskia Sassen (Social Sciences); golfer José María Olazábal (Sports); physicists Peter Higgs and François Englert and CERN director general Rolf Heuer (Technical & Scientific Research); US photographer Annie Leibovitz (Communication and Humanities); Spanish blind organization ONCE (Concord) and the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (International Cooperation).

The shadow of Spain’s ongoing economic crisis loomed large over the ceremony at the Campoamor Theater. In the first major speech, Muñoz Molina repeated his criticism of the government’s cuts and the situation of “a country devastated by the crisis where the more contemporary forms of demagoguery have revived the old disdain for intellectual work and knowledge.”

Speaking at the end of the prize-giving Prince Felipe urged Spaniards to be courageous in the crisis. “There are millions of Spaniards who battle every day to keep going with honesty, effort, bravery and humility. They are the people who really make Spain a great nation, which is worth living in and loving and make it worth fighting for.”