26.05.2012

I Spain India Council Foundation Award Ceremony

Queen Sofía of Spain presided over the award ceremony at Palau de les Arts in Valencia. The award went to conductor Zubin Mehta

I Spain India Council Foundation Award Ceremony

Queen Sofía of Spain presided over the presentation ceremony in Valencia for the 1st Spain India Council Foundation Award, which went to Indian maestro Zubin Mehta for his work to help strengthen and enhance Spain-India relations.

The event was attended by José Manuel García-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Antonio Escámez, Chairman of the Spain India Council Foundation; Alberto Fabra, President of the Valencian Regional Government; Juan Gabriel Cotino, President of the Valencian Parliament; Lola Johnson, Head of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sports of the Valencia Regional Government; Rita Barberá, Major of Valencia; the Ambassador of India to Spain, Sunil Lal, and a number of SICF patrons.

The Spain India Council Foundation is a private cultural foundation that works towards enhancing mutual knowledge between Spanish and Indian civil societies. Backed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation with the purpose of strengthening bilateral relations with India as one of Spain's main strategic partners, its Board of Directors includes companies as well as financial, cultural, educational and legal institutions, and representatives of the Government of Spain, Regional Governments and City Councils that stand out for their bilateral activity with India.

Queen Sofía of Spain presided over the presentation ceremony for the 1st Spain India Council Foundation Award, which went to Indian maestro Zubin Mehta for his work to help strengthen Spanish-Indian relations.

The award ceremony took place at Palau de les Arts in Valencia and was attended by José Manuel García-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Antonio Escámez, Chairman of the Spain India Council Foundation; Alberto Fabra, President of the Valencian Regional Government; Juan Gabriel Cotino, President of the Valencian Parliament; Lola Johnson, Head of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sports of the Valencia Regional Government; Rita Barberá, Major of Valencia; the Ambassador of India to Spain, Sunil Lal, and a number of SICF patrons.

The first Spain India Council Foundation Award, created by the SICF to recognise the work of individuals contributing to bilateral relations between the two countries, went to Indian maestro Zubin Mehta, described by Antonio Escámez, Chairman of the Spain India Council Foundation, as “a man who embodies the friendship between Spain and India and is one of the most prominent names in world culture.”

At the beginning of the event, Escámez stated that “Mehta's cultural wealth is as extensive as his friendship towards our country; he knows and understands Spain like few others. Our societies are much closer than one might think considering the geographical distance between them, and the maestro's prestige and renown are the best incentive for our actions.”

In his speech, Zubin Mehta thanked the Queen for her presence at the Palau de les Arts and for honouring him with the award: “Since 1968, Spain has been in my heart. Valencia is already a global beacon in the opera world, and I sincerely hope the Festival del Mediterrani continues to be a success moving forward.” 

The Chairman of the Spain India Council Foundation also thanked Queen Sofía for her presence, “which is both a backing for the Foundation's work, a personal commitment to strengthening Spain-India relations and a message to Spanish society to support international cultural and economic relations as a priority to overcome the crisis.” This support will be renewed next week when the Prince and Princess of Asturias welcome the participants in the Future Indian Leaders programme, who will visit Madrid, Valladolid and Barcelona between 27 May and 2 June.

Escámez emphasised the commitment undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation “by prioritising public diplomacy in the grand scheme of our foreign policy.” “The fifty-odd patrons of the Foundation,” he added, “businessmen, cultural and educational agents and representatives of the top Spanish universities and business schools, are striving towards a common goal and towards closer relations with one of the most important countries in the world, India, which is positioning itself as one of the key global players of the 21st century.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Manuel García-Margallo, said bilateral relations with India were of the utmost importance to the Spanish government, as heconveyed to Indian Minister of External Affairs Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna on April 20 during his visit to Madrid. He also said that Zubin Mehta is an example of the robust relations between Spain and India and emphasised that “one of the goals of this Government and the Ministry is to raise the profile of ‘Brand Spain’. Spanish diplomacy continues to be political, but it also has an economic, cultural and public purpose.” Regarding the conductor, the Minister said: “I respect you both as a musician and as a human being, and admire your constant pursuit of peace in this troubled world.”

The Spain India Council Foundation is a private cultural foundation that works towards enhancing mutual knowledge between Spanish and Indian civil societies. Backed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation with the purpose of strengthening bilateral relations with India as one of Spain's main strategic partners, its Board of Directors includes companies as well as financial, cultural, educational and legal institutions, and representatives of the Government of Spain, Regional Governments and City Councils that stand out for their bilateral activity with India.

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