Marcelino Oreja Aguirre awarded with the XXI International Prize Grupo Compostela – Xunta de Galicia
Compostela Group of Universities and Xunta de Galicia revealed today their decision to award the XXI International Prize Compostela – Xunta de Galicia to Marcelino Oreja Aguirre for his work in favour of setting a path that marked the future of Pilgrimage routes as crossroads of European Values.
Oreja Aguirre, declared adopted of Santiago de Compostela and granted with the Golden Medal of Culture of Santiago, from his position at the Council of Europe drove the initiative to declare Saint James Way as the first route to be designated European Cultural Itinerary in 1987. Nowadays, he is still working in favor of the route as president of the Foundation Ad Sanctum Jacobum Peregrinatio. At present he is the president of the Institute of European Studies at University CEU-San Pablo and president of honour of the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.
The jury, that met last May in Santiago de Compostela, highlighted the figure of the winner as promoter of Saint James’ Way and human rights, also underlining his leadership in favour of the construction of Europe and in the participation of Spain in the Council of Europe.
The President of the Compostela Group of Universities, Marek Kreglewski, explained that “this prize acknowledges his indispensable role on the recognition of Saint James' Way as the pillar that set the bases for the European Union”. Oreja Aguirre, who stated that he was "overwhelmed and excited", took advantage of his intervention to praise the Way of Saint James "as a space for meeting, culture and faith". "A space for personal and collective improvement," he said. “As long as I am alive, as an enthusiast of Saint James' Way, I will always continue defending" this route, he added.
At the press conference, the rector of the University of Santiago de Compostela, Juan Viaño, recalled that the objective of the Prize is to grant persons or institution that stand out due to his work in favour of the preservation of European cultural heritage and the promotion of the European values of cooperation and integration around Saint James Way. “Marcelino Oreja is the ultimate expression of these values”, he pointed out.
The Regional Minister for Culture, Education and University Development, Román Rodríguez, praised his “excellent” career “in favour of the construction of a European public space and his contribution to the recognition of Saint James’ Way as a key element of Europe for most of his life”.