México 2005 – Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro

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Date: 12 November 2005
Place of Ceremony: Fernando Soler City Theater
Host Institution: Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro
Host Country: Saltillo, México

(November 12th, Saltillo, Coahuila, Fernando Soler City Theatre). “I’m optimistic and I can say that a lot of us are. I have the firm conviction that an Era of true fraternity awaits us, and we are working towards that. If we didn’t believe that, we wouldn’t have anything to fight for. I have that firm conviction, the conviction of a farmer that what he sows he will harvest”. These were the words of Master José Rafael Estrada, President of the World Cultural Council during his speech at the twenty-second Award Ceremony.

“Since the World Cultural Council has been working with the Agricultural Autonomous University of Antonio Narro, let’s talk about the Earth, Mother Earth who feeds and shelters us”.

Master Estrada went on to say that the history of the world began yesterday.

Thales of Miletus was philosophizing just 2600 years ago, just a breath away compared with this planet’s distant past and the distant past of the other species which have inhabited it since time immemorial.

If we have just arrived, then what right do we have to impose our ideas, frequently mistaken, on the other species which inhabit the Earth and this on the earth itself?

This being so, then we might come to understand that we have not always treated nature as we should. We don’t respect living species, we don’t even respect each other within out own species, and we try to impose our ideas on the world.

However, the President of the World Cultural Council said, there are many of us, in science and in art, in education and in culture, who have awoken and are working to reverse these trends, these excluding ideologies, religious conflicts, outbursts of genocidal nationalism and frenetic consumerism.

The destiny of the world and that of this nation will be up to those who are students today. The future will soon be the present and today we must work towards it, and not hope that things will sort themselves out. We must pursue our educational work, more efficiently every day. As university people, our contribution must be a university, educational one.

Finally I would like to echo the words of many university people from the five continents, with whom I have had the honour of mixing. We are teachers, educators, masters; it is our right and our obligation to contribute every day to making the world a better place, better educating our students and, if we believe in the world, then we believe in man.

Dr. Luis Alberto Aguirre Uribe, the Rector of the Agricultural Autonomous University of Antonio Narro, the host institution, averred that this solemn event was an opportunity for our university to express its dedication to and respect for scientific work and artistic endeavour, for teaching and all the products of the human spirit which allow for progress towards the dream of a mankind united in progress, well-being and harmony.

In the framework of an academic ceremony, held each year with the sponsorship of various universities around the world, the “Albert Einstein” World Award for Science and the “Leonardo da Vinci” World Award for Arts are presented, with the presence as guests of honour of distinguished figures from culture and national society, such as the Constitutional Governor of the State of Coahuila, Enrique Martínez y Martínez, and the Mayor of Saltillo, Ismael Ramos Flores, representing the community of Coahuila.

Dr. Gustavo Chapela Castañares, Director General of CONACYT attended the event on behalf of the President of the Republic, Vicente Fox. He stated that the Awards presented today are important for the efforts of the World Cultural Council in promoting the work of scientists and artists worldwide; it is doubtless that these awards which acknowledge the creative work of scientists and artists, show the important role played by science and art in the advancement of humankind.

He went on to point out that the awards and recognitions granted by society and institutions to members of the community of creators are a mere token of the huge debt owed by our culture and its values to those who devote their lives to the fostering of arts and sciences for the benefit of all.

Dr. Chapela mentioned that in Mexico we have the challenge of setting up mechanisms to enable our scientific capacity to grow, to serve the generation of new technologies and to promote creativity in all fields; the future of our country depends on this.

He concluded that, by this recognition, society is acknowledging the fact that the spirit of our age shines through in their work: the commitment to the new knowledge generation, creativity, dedication and betterment which characterize the best our world has to offer. Greetings from the President and many thanks.

Luis Lauro de León González, Academic General Director Academic of the Agricultural Autonomous University of Antonio Narro, presented the abstract of Prof. John J. Hopfield, who received the “Albert Einstein” World Award for Science from Prof. Edmond Fischer, a distinguished member and vice-president of the World Cultural Council and a Nobel laureate.

After receiving the award, Prof. Hopfield said that he was very pleased to have been chosen by the World Cultural Council as this year’s winner of the “Albert Einstein” award. He went on to say that there are so many different ways to contribute to the progress of mankind and the world’s scientific knowledge that any laureate would realize that it is merely the symbol of a major achievement, and that there many people could just as well as have been in his place that day.

Thank you for the honour of being this year’s winner, of being on this occasion the symbol of science at the service of mankind. To many, my various pieces of scientific research may seem unrelated. I would therefore like to give special thanks those who nominated me, who have shared my vision of why these pieces of research form a coherent whole.

To round off, he referred to one of the most recent pieces of research aiming to fathom the working of the brain, the complex dynamics of nerve cell activity which make brain calculations, reflecting, “How we perceive, think and feel is also a deep question for students of humanities, as the essence of what it means to be human lies in the capacities of the human brain, not the appearance of a human body. It is this duality of the understanding of our humanity that brings together the three awards granted today by the World Cultural Council”.

The “Albert Einstein” World Award for Science was created to recognize and encourage scientific and technical research which, for its great importance, transcends national borders. Research which has brought benefit for society is given special consideration.

The winner of the Award for Science is chosen by an interdisciplinary committee made up of scientists recognized at world level. The award consists of a diploma, a commemorative medal and a cheque.

Dr. Eudoro Fonseca, General Director of Cultural Liaison of CONACULTA, representing the president of the organization, Sari Bermúdez, presented the synopsis of Architect Enrique Norten, winner of the “Leonardo da Vinci” World Award of Arts, who received the prize from Dr. Luis Alberto Aguirre Uribe, Rector of the Agricultural Autonomous University of Antonio Narro.

This being the first time that a Mexican has been awarded one of the World Awards, Mr. Norten said in a very heartfelt manner, “It is a great honour for me tonight to accept the “Leonardo da Vinci” World Award for Arts, so generously granted to me by the World Cultural Council. And it is particularly gratifying to receive it in my country”.

He also referred to the importance for his professional career of receiving the recognition, commenting, “I share a great satisfaction with you all, which will no doubt mark a major turning-point in my career”.

He highlighted the “undeserved privilege” of “associating” his name with one of the figures he most admires – Leonardo da Vinci- and stressed that the “marvellous intuition and above all untiring curiosity of this great man for life and the universe led him to pose himself a number of questions on different topics,which, with unparalleled intelligence and talent, he solved through some of his most outstanding technical and scientific discoveries, and by some of the most beautiful artistic creations of the last millennium.”

I think I would be right in saying that, without Da Vinci, our world today, along with the vision and perception that we have of it, would be very different, and doubtless much poorer.”

To end his speech, he made the following observation: “As architects we have very precise professional responsibilities towards the individuals, institutions and communities who entrust us with their confidence to solve very specific needs of space and time, and which we do not always share with those dedicated to artistic creation. But I am also aware that, in very rare and sublime circumstances, architecture manages to achieve the aesthetic and plastic conditions to be considered an Art, which generally comes about in a strange way, independent of the architect’s intentions. This is why I consider it an honour and an even greater privilege for the distinguished members of the Council to have deemed my work deserving of the World Award for Arts”.

The “Leonardo da Vinci” World Award for Arts was created as recognition for the admirable work of the artist. The Award is granted to a recognized artist, avantguardist or authority on the subject, whose work comprises a significant legacy to the world’s artistic heritage.

The qualifying jury of this Award is made up of internationally renowned artists, specialists and members of the World Cultural Council. The award consists of a diploma, a commemorative medal and a cheque.

Every year the World Cultural Council grants special recognition to people with outstanding performance in the fields of science, education and art. This year such recognition was awarded to the following people:

For science to: Dra. Atocha Aliseda Llera from the Autonomous National University of Mexico, Dr. Pavel Castro Villarreal from the Autonomous National University of Mexico, and Dr. Miguel Mellado Bosque from the Agricultural Autonomous University of Antonio Narro; and for Arts to: Elsa Cross, Felipe Garrido and Pilar Rioja.

The Governor of Coahuila, Enrique Martínez y Martínez, made a speech on the occasion of this World Award ceremony and endorsed the tribute made to two citizens of the world who, by their own merit, have been given this award by the World Cultural Council, in science and in arts.

“We are gathered here today with the artistic and scientific community to testify to these awards granted to two citizens who have devoted their lives to their profession, to the success they have achieved and who are a pride for Mexico, America and the world.”

He ended, “I would like to thank you all for your presence, the World Cultural Council for their confidence in holding this event here in the capital of Coahuila, and I would like to totally agree with Dr. Estrada that we have to combine the four elements and do something with them, earth, water, air and fire, but we should never forget the fifth element, which is love, and it is that which will make the world progress and allow us all to see a new future. Thankyou very much.

To round off, the Rector of the Agricultural Autonomous University, Dr. Luis Alberto Aguirre Uribe, made his closing remarks, saying: “On behalf of the Agricultural Autonomous University of Antonio Narro, I would like to thank everyone for their presence and participation in this solemn event. Above all, my special regards for the laureates, Prof. John Hopfield and Enrique Norten. Constancy; creativity and intelligence are reflected in their achievements, and the recognition they have received today from the World Cultural Council bears witness to that. It has been an honour for Antonio Narro University to be the host for the 22nd Award Ceremony and we wish you all the best success in each of your projects”.

The Council confers the Albert Einstein World Award for Science on an annual basis and the José Vasconcelos Award for Education and the Leonardo da Vinci Award for Arts every two years, with the sponsorship of different universities around the world. The awards are backed by the International Scientific and Educational Community, made up of founder members of the Council itself, which consists of over three hundred renowned figures spanning the five continents.

It is worth mentioning that the last Award Ceremony held in our country was in the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City) in 1995, sponsored by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. In that year the award winners were, for the “Albert Einstein” World Award of Science,the Canadian Prof. Herbert Jasper and for the “”Leonardo da Vinci” Arts Award, the famous US artist, Robert Rauschenberg, who received the award from the President of the World Cultural Council and from the Nobel laureate for Literature, Octavio Paz.

From 1996 to 2004, the Award Ceremonies took place in: Oxford, UK; the University of Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, Thailand; Victoria University, Wellington, Nueva Zealand; Trondheim University, Norway, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa; Utrecht University, Holland; Trinity College of the University of Dublín, Ireland; Helsinki University, Finland and the University of Liège, Belgium, in that order.

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