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Mexican university wins award in Europe

20 June 2009 No Comment

The National Autonomous University of MexicoAs reported by the Associated Press, the UNAM, which is a nearly 100-year-old Mexican university, was awarded Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities in recognition of its role in providing Latin America with outstanding intellectuals and scientists.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico, which has nearly 300,000 students and more than 34,000 professors and researchers, had received more than 1,500 letters of support for the award, including ones from world famous authors Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the award foundation said.

The university, founded in 1910, “has become a point of reference, combining quality and an extensive academic and research offering with its firm commitment to disseminate culture, humanism and new technologies,” the foundation said.

It also praised the school for the role it played as “a reception center for intellectuals and professors exiled (from Spain) after the (1936-39) Spanish Civil War.”

The award includes a euro50,000 ($70,000) cash stipend and a sculpture by artist Joan Miro.

Last year’s Communication and Humanities award went to the Google Internet search engine.

The university is one of the most important public centers for higher education in Mexico and Latin America, with alumni including three Nobel Prize winners — the late Octavio Paz for literature (1990), chemistry scientist Mario Molina (1995), and the late diplomat Alfonso Garcia Robles for the Peace Prize in 1982, the foundation said.

In 2007, the university’s main campus in Mexico City, the University City, was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO, which praised it as a monumental example of the modernism of the 20th century.

The communication and humanities award is one of eight handed out each year by the Prince of Asturias Foundation covering areas ranging from the arts and humanities to scientific research. The awards are named after Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe, whose formal title is prince of Asturias, a region of northern Spain.

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