The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, presented this afternoon the XXXIV Catalonia International Catalonia Prize (PIC) to the Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich, of which she highlighted her "commitment to democracy and peace, much needed in today's Europe, which is once again experiencing a new war". A conflict, he added, "caused by Putin's invasion of Ukraine, which beyond social and economic affectations, becomes a threat to the EU itself and everything it represents".
Along these lines, the head of the Executive has noted that, "as Democrats and Europeanists, we cannot understand the conflict in Ukraine as distant, as a conflict that does not do with us". And he added that "the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the most belligerent attack that the European construction project has ever received and the values we share with the rest of the continent." "A legacy that for a long time has helped us to move forward in Catalonia as well and that today we have the responsibility to contribute to defending and strengthening" he said.
During his speech at the award ceremony, which was held in the Saló de Sant Jordi of the Palau de la Generalitat, President Aragonès stressed the importance of "recognizing the work of the voices that have been denouncing the attacks on freedom from authoritarian regimes such as Lukashenko's in Belarus or Putin's in Russia itself for years". "Free and committed voices like Svetlana Alexievich's,"he concluded.
For her part, the winner thanked the award and assured that she will work to "make this world more perfect". He noted that Ukraine "is not only defending itself, but is also defending Poland and the Baltic Republics." And he said that "no matter how strong the dictatorship is, it will not be able to beat us".
The jury report values Alexievich's "outstanding literary career and powerful work on the consequences of the Soviet empire – in Chernobyl and beyond – which the author continues to develop in exile". "Belarus, of Ukrainian origin, her involvement in the opposition to the regime of Belarusian President Lukashenko and also against the Russian invasion of Ukraine have given special relevance to this candidacy," the jury added, which also highlighted its constancy in the compilation of individual testimonies from the Russian sphere, and the revelation, through literary narration,of the truths hidden behind what she herself has characterized as a "veil of banality".
During the event, in addition to the president and the awardee, was also attended by the president of the PIC jury, Mary Ann Newman, and the associate senior researcher at CIDOB Carmen Claudín, who introduced Svetlana Alexievich's work.
In 1989, the Government of Catalonia created the Catalonia International Prize with three clear purposes: to recognize and encourage creators, to offer Catalans examples of the highest quality and demand in all aspects, and to place Catalonia on the scene of major international awards. Endowed with 80,000 euros and the sculpture "La clau i la lletra"(The key and the letter) by Antoni Tàpies, it is awarded annually to those people who have contributed decisively to developing cultural, scientific or human values. Institutions from all over the world and members of the jury may submit candidacies, in accordance with the rules published each year with the announcement of the award.