Lula da Silva awarded this year’s ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’

The former President of Brazil has been awarded this prestigious International prize that recognises individuals who have decisively contributed with their work to the development of cultural, scientific and human values around the world. Last year’s winner was the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Other winners are Jimmy Carter, Aung San Suu Kyi, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Harold Bloom, Jacques Yves Cousteau, Karl Popper, Amartya Sen, Václav Havel, or Jacques Delors. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been honoured with the prize for “his policies at the service of fair economic growth”, significantly reducing poverty in Brazil.


April 2, 2012 09:13 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has been awarded the ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’, a prestigious international prize recognising individuals who have decisively contributed with their work to the development of cultural, scientific and human values around the world. The international jury’s coordinator, the philosopher Xavier Rubert de Ventós, and the Catalan President, Artur Mas, who officially chairs the jury, announced the winner of the prize’s 24th edition on Monday. Lula da Silva has been honoured with the 24th ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’ for his work to create “fair economic growth, developing a middle class and achieving fairer wealth distribution”. Rubert de Ventós said that the jury has distinguished an “unexpected politician”, who “faced with imagination and courage poverty and inequality” in his country. Despite his current medical condition, the former Brazilian head of state will try to come to Barcelona in two months time to receive the award in person, although the exact date has not been confirmed yet. Last year, Catalonia’s international prize, which is awarded by the Catalan Government following the decision of an international jury formed by prestigious professionals, distinguished the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. In its 24 year history, some of the winners have been the former US President Jimmy Carter, the leader of Myanmar’s opposition Aung San Suu Kyi, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, American writer Harold Bloom, French oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau, British philosopher Karl Popper, Indian economist Amartya Sen, former Czech Republic President and writer Václav Havel, or former European Commission President Jacques Delors, among others.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had already run in previous editions of the prize but this year was unanimously voted by the jury to receive the 24th ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’. It was coordinated by the Catalan philosopher and former Harvard professor Xavier Rubert de Ventós. The former President of Brazil’s candidature has been distinguished among 177 candidates, from 59 different countries, and presented by 179 different institutions. The prize comes with €80,000 and the sculpture ‘La clau i la lletra’ (The key and the letter) by Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies. This year’s international jury was formed by 14 professionals from Catalonia and abroad. The jury’s Chairperson is the Catalan President and the jury’s delegate chairperson is the philosopher Xavier Rupert de Ventós. Other members are architect Ricard Bofill, art critic Juan Manuel Bonet, writer Josep Maria Castellet, historian Agustí Colomines, politician Jacques Delors, soprano Barbara Hendricks, philosopher Edgar Morin, diplomat Ambler Moss, philologist Mary Ann Newman, philosopher Josep Ramoneda, sociologist Richard Sennett, philosopher Gianni Vattimo, biologist Anna Veiga, and physicist Jorge Wagensberg.

A prize recognising policies to create  “fair economic growth” and “a middle class”

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, announced this year’s winner, next to the jury’s delegate chairman. Mas stressed that the jury wanted to recognise Lula da Silva’s “policies at the service of fair economic growth, creating a middle class and achieving fairer wealth distribution”. The Catalan President stressed Lula da Silva’s commitment to his country’s economic growth. He believed that it was the necessary step for achieving social justice.

In addition, Rubert de Ventós, said that Lula da Silva had been an “unexpected politician”, as it came as a surprise in South America, able to go from his union activity to politics, a “popular but not populist person, who avoided the temptation of Chavism” (the temptation of acting like Hugo Chávez).

A letter by Lula da Silva

Furthermore, the Catalan President read the letter Lula da Silva sent him accepting the ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’. The former President of Brazil expressed his joy to receive such a distinction, which coincided with the “good news” that the treatment against his cancer is successful. Da Silva thanked the award in his name and in the name of the Brazilian people. He also added that the prize “has the creative and transforming strength of the Catalan people”, not only to him but to all Brazilians. Finally, Lula da Silva said that he would try to come to the awards ceremony, which will be held in two months time. However, there is no fixed date yet, waiting for the health situation of the former Brazilian President.