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The Ramon Llull Foundation presents awards to Romanian translator Jana Balacciu Matei, linguist John Landaburu and producer Manuel Llanes

Culture.  Ordino (Andorra),  30/11/2017

The Ramon Llull Foundation has today in Andorra presented its awards designed to honour people or institutions from outside of the Catalan linguistic domain who have worked to drive the international promotion of Catalan language and culture. The award winners at this sixth edition are Romanian translator Jana Balaccui Matei; Andalusian cultural producer Manuel Llanes; and linguist John Landaburu. This last individual has been awarded with the Ramon Llull International Award for Catalan Studies and Linguistic Diversity, which is awarded jointly by the Institut Ramon Llull and the Congress Foundation of Catalan Culture.

The prize giving ceremony has been celebrated at the National Auditorium of Andorra, and among those involved are the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Andorra, Olga Gelabert; the Culture, Participation and Sports Councillor of the Balearic Government, Fanny Tur; the Director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Manuel Forcano; the director of the Ramon Llull Foundation, Vicenç Villatoro; and the President of the Congress Foundation of Catalan Culture, Miquel Strubell.

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of Andorra, Olga Gelabert, has focused on the desire to “renew the clear commitment of the Andorran government to the projection of Catalan culture” through notable participation in the Ramon Llull Foundation. Also Gelabert has stated that “it is necessary to create public and private tools to carry out this projection, a great example being the Ramon Llull Foundation. We must be enthusiastic and be prepared to carry our culture overseas. But we must also find, outside of our linguistic and cultural sphere, friendly people and institutions”.

The Director of the Ramon Llull Foundation, Vicenç Villatoro, has said that these awards serve to celebrate “the commitment of the institutions belonging to each Catalan-speaking territory to the language and culture and with the main goal of its overseas projection”. “The Foundation is a meeting point for these institutions which may have completely different strategies, aims and political horizons, but which participate in the Foundation due to the shared conviction that Catalan language and culture need an effort of consolidation within the region and an effort towards projection outside of it” he pointed out, and at the same time he warned that “weakening these tools which we already have would probably be a political error. But above all it would be culturally irresponsible.”


The Ramon Llull Award for Literary Translation is organised by the Ramon Llull Foundation. It recognises the best literary translation from Catalan into another language published in the previous year. Only works of sole authorship are applicable for this award, which carries a prize of 4,000 euros. The Romanian translator Jana Balacciu Matei has been honoured in this year’s edition for her translation of Llibre de les meravelles by Ramon Llull, published by Meronia within the collection Biblioteca de Cultura Catalana. Matei has been the person to bring the work of Ramon Llull to the Romanian public: in total, she has now translated 6 of his works.

Jana Balacciu Matei has stated that “if I am proud of one thing about myself it is that I have translated Catalan literature and have created the collection Biblioteca Catalana, published by Meronia.” Matei explained how since she began learning about Catalan language and culture she has experienced “wonders” with the Catalan people, and explained that she feels “Catalan” and how it makes her happy to be “a representative of Catalan literature in Romania”. She also spoke about the future of the Catalan language, confident that “a language with such a rich literary tradition cannot be threatened”.


The Award for International Promotion of Catalan Creation honours a person or institution from overseas that has stood out through their career for a special awareness towards Catalan culture and that has supported its visibility on the international stage. The award carries a prize of 4,000 euros. This year’s award winner is Manuel Llanes, artistic director of the theatre spaces of the Regional Government of Andalucía. The panel has decided to award him the prize due to the grand scope of his programming, given the great range of genres that are covered and that within each genre there is also a large range covered. The panel praised that “he has spread Catalan culture at a very high level for many years”.

Llanes is very grateful for the award, which is available to all who organise cultural productions, and has said that he schedules Catalan artists due to the fact that their creations appeal to him and they have woken the need for him to make them available and known to the public. “Catalan works and I go hand in hand” he said. Llanes recalled that in 8 months some fifteen Catalan proposals have passed through the theatres of Seville, Granada and Malaga.


The Ramon Llull International Award for Catalan Studies and Linguistic Diversity, now in its 27th year, shows appreciation for the complete work of an individual from outside the Catalan linguistic domain, written in any language, which has led to an increased knowledge of the true history and culture of Catalonia, or the theoretical or practical contribution of a person from any country which has provided an important contribution to the knowledge, recognition, promotion or defence of one or more stateless cultures or nations. This prize is awarded jointly by the Ramon Llull Foundation and the Fundació Congrés de Cultura Catalana. It carries a prize of 6,000 euros.

This year, the prize has been awarded unanimously in its category of Linguistic Diversity to Professor Jon Landaburu, specialist in Native American languages. Professor Landaburu, son of the exiled Basque president, was born in Paris and studied there, where he received his doctorate in linguistics from the Sorbonne University. He has dedicated more than 50 years to the study and defence of minority indigenous languages in Colombia. Landaburu explained that 65 indigenous languages have been documented, some of them having very few speakers.

In his speech, Landaburu said that “I am here as a companion and witness of the minorities that have been attacked and that are now trying to raise their heads. These minorities not only deserve to live but they are also looking for ways to do this and to make sure that their language continues to be passed on and can survive. The most important thing now is not paternalism but rather helping to overcome the obstacles and destructive forces that have acted against them”.

We attach the press file. You can find images of the presentation of the awards at Flickr del Govern d’Andorra


On 30th November the VI Ramon Llull Foundation Awards have been presented

Sponsors of IRL projects

The Institut Ramon Llull

is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Generalitat de CatalunyaGovern Illes BalearsAjuntament de Barcelona

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