The President of the Catalan Government, Pere Aragonès, has called to "learn from the commitment to humanity shared by Josefina Castellví and Arcadi Oliveres to promote the shake-up that the country needs to make the social, green, feminist and democratic transformation".
The head of the Executive has pronounced these words during the act of delivery of the Gold Medal of the Catalan Government to Arcadi Oliveres, posthumously, and Josefina Castellví. With this ceremony, which began with the review of the guard of honor of the National Police Corps of Catalonia and the hoisting of the flag, the institutional acts organized by the Catalan Government on the occasion of the National Day of Catalonia have been opened. The common thread of this year's National Day is the maestro Pau Casals and his defense of Catalonia, its institutions and peace, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the hymn he composed for the United Nations, in a ceremony in which he received the Medal of Peace and in which he delivered the historic speech "I am a Catalan".
During his speech at the event, which took place in El Vendrell, Pau Casals' hometown, President Aragonès, paraphrasing the words of the maestro in his speech at the UN, said that "Catalonia, the greatest nation in the world, must be able to overcome repression and freely decide what its political future should be, as a large majority of Catalan society wishes".
The head of the Government highlighted "the will to transform, perseverance in convictions and commitment to humanity" as values shared by both award winners. These values, he added, "make them a point of reference, giving shape to an ethical, moral and, above all, human legacy". The head of the Government also stressed that both laureates have distinguished themselves for their "search for the common good", which makes them "a reference for the country as a whole". "Let us be worthy heirs of their legacy, because this is the best tribute we can offer them", he reiterated.
Pere Aragonès also remarked that "the wake of Castellví and Oliveres helps us to move towards a fairer world, with less belligerence and a more human dimension; building consensus and putting at the center those who have traditionally been on the margins".
The Gold Medal of the Catalan Government
The Government agreed on August 31 to award the Gold Medal to Arcadi Oliveres "for his outstanding civic, academic and social career", and to Josefina Castellví, "for her outstanding career as an oceanographer, biologist, scientific researcher and writer". With the awarding of the Gold Medal to Arcadi Oliveres, the Catalan Government "wants to honor one of the most beloved social references of contemporary Catalonia". And with the distinction to Josefina Castellví "wants to honor one of the pioneers of scientific research in Catalonia" who, "with her career and talent, has paved the way for many women scientists, which -together with her prestige and international projection- make her a true reference for new generations of scientists".
The Gold Medal of the Government of Catalonia is the highest honorary distinction awarded by the Executive. It was created in 1978 to distinguish those who have rendered eminent and extraordinary services to Catalonia in the political, social, economic, cultural or scientific fields. Last year, the Catalan Government awarded the Gold Medal to the teacher and pedagogue Teresa Codina and the singer-songwriter Lluís Llach.
Arcadi Oliveres was born in Barcelona in 1945 and died in Sant Cugat del Vallès on April 6. He was an economist and taught at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). During the Franco dictatorship he was a member of the Democratic Union of Students of Barcelona and the Assembly of Catalonia
He participated in the first pacifist movements as a member of Pax Christi and in the creation of the Barcelona Peace Center. In the summer of 1976 he participated in the organization of the March for Freedom and was arrested in La Sénia by the Spanish Military Police. In 1977 he participated in the creation of the Catalan Association of Solidarity and Aid to Refugees (ACSAR).
He was president of Justice and Peace from 2001 to 2014, co-founder of the European Network Against the Arms Trade, promoter of ethical banking in Catalonia and participant in different editions of the World Social Forum. He was also part of the Association for the Taxation of Transactions and for the Aid to Citizens (ATTAC) and the Catalan Society of Economics. He has written several books and articles. He also received numerous awards and recognitions, such as the ICIP Peacebuilders Award 2017.
The biologist, oceanographer and writer Josefina Castellví and Piulachs was born in Barcelona in 1935. She graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Barcelona in 1957, and was awarded with an Extraordinary Prize. That same year she obtained a scholarship from the French Government to study marine bacteria at the Sorbonne University. In Paris she specialized in oceanography and participated in the first oceanic expeditions.
In 1984 she became the first Catalan woman -together with Marta Estrada- to participate in an international expedition to the South Pole. That same year she was appointed delegate of the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) in Catalonia and two years later she headed the coordination of the presidency of this Council. Between 1987 and 1994 she lived at the Spanish Antarctic Base on Livingston Island, the first two years as coordinator of the facility and between 1989 and 1994 as director. Subsequently, she was manager of the National Antarctic Research Program.
Between 2000 and 2007 and between 2012 and 2016 he was part of the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development of the Catalan Government, occupying the vice-presidency in the periods 2004-2007 and 2012-2016. His career has been recognized with distinctions such as the Cross of St. George (2003), the Catalan of the Year Award (2013) or the National Culture Award (2013).