At midday today, President Quim Torra announced that Vinton Cerf, a Google vice president and one of the “fathers” of the internet, has been chosen as the winner of the 30th Catalonia International Prize. Torra highlighted the contribution the American engineer has made, from a technological as well as a cultural and social perspective, to “the development of the internet as a basic infrastructure of our society, and his ongoing efforts to ensure that it is a network open to all”.
The head of the Catalan government underscored the link between Cerf and Catalonia, noting that he was the president of the international organisation that authorised the .cat domain, and that he “acted with impartiality and professionalism, without being swayed by external influences, which was a crucial factor when it came to creating the internet’s first language domain”.
The Catalonia International Prize is awarded annually by the Government of Catalonia to individuals whose creative work has contributed significantly to the development of cultural, scientific or human values around the world. This year, 109 candidatures from 50 countries were proposed. The president will present the prize to Cerf at a ceremony to be held on 25 March at the Palau de la Generalitat.
Vinton Cerf is the first technologist to be awarded the prize. There were two key considerations behind the jury’s decision. First, Cerf is the creator of the Internet Protocol (IP), which now underpins all communications over the internet; and second, he has become an essential interlocutor for any public or private actor that wishes to reflect or take action in relation to social, political or legal aspects of the internet.
Torra made the announcement during a press conference held in the Torres Garcia Room of the Palau, together with Prof Manel Sanromà, a professor of Applied Mathematics at Rovira i Virgili University and director of its Computer Science Department, and one of the supporters of the candidature of Vinton Cerf.
Spanish State Budget
When asked by journalists whether pro-independence parties would support the Spanish state budget, the president insisted, in line with the position articulated in the debate on general policy, that “a political solution for Catalonia must include the exercise of its right to self-determination,” adding that “there’s been no movement on this point.” Torra said, “If there is no political movement along these lines, the budget will not be approved, and its processing will not be allowed to move forward.”
Therefore, “President Sánchez must be brave; he has to make a move. And if there’s a political decision concerning the exercise of Catalonia’s right to self-determination, he knows he’ll have our support to move forward with the processing of the budget.”