In a period when “social distance deeply destroys the bonds of our civilization and humanity”, historian and professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Raquel Varela, stressed that the award given to her by the Ibero-American Communication Association (ASICOM) marks a “meeting of peoples”. She added: “In a pandemic like this, physical distance is necessary, never social distance. We really need a lot of social proximity.”
During the ASICOM award ceremony on 6 October at Oviedo University, Spain, Raquel Varela made an emotional speech: “I receive this award with great happiness, because I am a convinced internationalist and I do not like a world with walls of xenophobia and conservative nationalisms, which destroy the bonds of solidarity.”
Raquel Varela, whose speech focused on the social impact caused by the pandemic, also reflected on the role of digitalization: “When we talk about technology, in which the University has such an important role, we have to ask ourselves for whom we want technology and for what it serves us?”
The ceremony was chaired by the rector Santiago García Granda, attended by the Mayor of Oviedo, Alfredo Canteli, and the Vice-President of ASICOM, Laura Galguera. Former soccer coach Vicente del Bosque, Mexican mathematician Raúl Rojas Martínez, sports journalist Juan Ignacio Gallardo, Cuban singer and composer Silvio Rodríguez and Fundación Microfinanzas BBVA were also honored.
The ASICOM award is given annually to personalities and institutions that have distinguished themselves in different disciplines in the Ibero-American context, as well as who have contributed to the construction of the region's culture and traditions, bringing Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula closer together.
The event was marked by security measures against COVID-19, which forced the reduction of the room's capacity and the use of masks. Mexican-Asturian businessman Carlos Casanueva, chairman of the ASICOM board of trustees, made his traditional speech “transformed” into a hologram. “It was impossible for me to be physically on this occasion, but I was able to watch it with emotion thanks to the amazing technology” he said in 3D, “sitting” next to Raquel Varela.
Watch Professor Raquel Varela's speech at the gala (speech in Castilian).