|© Prince of Asturias Foundation|
|UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman (front row, fourth from left) stands beside Prince Felipe of Spain with other honourees at the Prince of Asturias presentation ceremony in Oviedo, Spain.|
By Rachel Bonham Carter
NEW YORK, USA, 20 October 2006 – In a moving ceremony in northern Spain today, UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman accepted the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.
One of the most prestigious global recognitions of humanitarian achievement, it was awarded to UNICEF for 60 years of efforts to save and improve children’s lives around the world.
In thanking the Prince of Asturias Foundation for the honour, Ms. Veneman spoke of the many children she has met through her work with UNICEF – including children in war zones, victims of natural disasters and those growing up in extreme poverty.
“It is on behalf of these children, and all the children around the world, that UNICEF accepts this award with deep appreciation,” she said.
Contribution to children’s well-being
The Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo was packed for the presentation ceremony. The Prince of Asturias, heir to the throne of Spain, commended UNICEF’s work in Africa and its contribution to “improving the health and living conditions of millions of children worldwide.”
Other Prince of Asturias Award winners this year included filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, writer Paul Auster, physicist Juan Ignacio Cirac, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.
The Spanish National Basketball team, which won the World Championship in Japan this year, received the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports in recognition of their team spirit, candour and commitment to sports ethics. The team announced it will donate its prize money to UNICEF.
“The award for UNICEF and the donation from the basketball team signify the support that UNICEF has in all sections of Spanish society,” said the President of the Spanish National Committee for UNICEF, Consuelo Crespo. “It is a very well loved and appreciated organization in Spain.”
The Prince of Asturias Foundation website
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