Institut Ramon LLull




Professor Maria Delgado, translator Artur Guerra and linguist Christer Laurén win Ramon Llull Foundation Prize

Culture.  23/11/2018

The Ramon Llull Foundation celebrated the seventh edition of the Ramon Llull International Award in Andorra today. The prize is awarded to individuals or institutions outside the Catalan-speaking territories who have striven to promote Catalan language and culture on the international stage. This year’s prizes went to Maria Delgado, the foremost British expert in Catalan cinema and theatre, Finnish linguist Christer Laurén, and Portuguese translator Artur Guerra. Laurén received the Ramon Llull International Award for Catalan Studies and Linguistic Diversity, which is jointly awarded by the Ramon Llull Foundation and the Fundació Congrés de Cultura Catalana.

The awards ceremony was held at the National Auditorium in Andorra and attended by Olga Gelabert, the Andorran Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports; Laura Borràs, the Catalan Minister of Culture; Vicenç Villatoro, the Director of the Ramon Llull Foundation; Iolanda Batallé, the Director of the Institut Ramon Llull; and Miquel Strubell, the President of the Fundació Congrés de Cultura Catalana.

Olga Gelabert, the Andorran Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, stated that Andorra was honored to have again been chosen to host the awards ceremony for this distinguished prize. Gelabert noted that culture and tradition underpin the distinctive Andorran identity, paying tribute to its time-honored roots while promoting progress and modernity. In a similar vein, Gelabert argued that Andorra’s cultural assets should stand front and center on the international stage, allowing the country to “constantly build robust bridges of friendship with other Catalan-speaking territories, which share this and many other aspects of our heritage.”

Vicenç Villatoro, the Director of the Ramon Llull Foundation, stated that “the Ramon Llull Foundation is a space where public institutions from all Catalan-speaking territories can meet to celebrate their joint commitment to Catalan language and culture.” He noted that the Award “recognizes individuals and organizations committed to promoting Catalan language and culture internationally,” and concluded that “the Ramon Llull Foundation Awards support a thriving, top-notch cultural scene, which is the very lifeblood of a language.”

The Award for International Promotion of Catalan Creation is given to an individual or institution from outside the Catalan-speaking territories who has endeavored to promote Catalan culture on the international stage. Winners received a 4,000 euro prize.

This year’s recipient, Maria Delgado, is the Director of Research at the University of London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she holds an Honorary Fellowship at the Institute of Modern Languages Research. The jury recognized her cross-cutting work, which spans the gamut from academic research to cinematography and theatre, noting her “wide-ranging efforts to bolster not only leading figures but also emerging Catalan theatre and film artists.”

At the awards ceremony, Maria Delgado expressed her gratitude and noted that her “commitment to the Catalan language is tied to the arts, which allow us to better understand ourselves, others, and the world itself. Cutting-edge art ranges far beyond the English-speaking world.” Delgado cited figures including Calixto Bieito, Lluís Pasqual, Josep Maria Pou and Núria Espert, leading Catalan theatre artists who are household names on the European stage. She concluded by mentioning the BFI London Film Festival, where she has shown over 50 contemporary Catalan films.

The Ramon Llull Award for Literary Translation recognizes the best literary translation from Catalan into another language published during the previous year. Works of sole authorship are eligible for the award; winners receive a 4,000 euro prize. This year, the prize went to Portuguese translator Artur Guerra for his Portuguese translation of the second volume of Joanot Martorell’s Tirant Lo Blanc, published in three volumes by the Sistema Solar publishing house (under the Documenta imprint). Guerra has translated some fifteen works – including contemporary novels, twentieth-century favorites, and medieval classics – from Catalan into Portuguese.

Guerra explained that he fell in love with the Catalan language and culture when he was living in Valencia in the 1960s and ‘70s, when he “dreamed of translating Tirant Lo Blanc into Portuguese.” Despite the challenges of medieval Catalan, Guerra aimed to stay true to the original text while penning a Portuguese-language version which would appeal to both academics and laypersons. Professor Guerra has also translated works by Maite Carranza, Maria Barbal, Tina Vallès, Mercè Rodoreda and Ramon Llull into Portuguese. He sees translation as “the ideal tool to turn national literature into universal literature,” and called for “forging cultural bridges between Catalonia and Portugal.”

The Ramon Llull International Award for Catalan Studies and Linguistic Diversity recognizes either the life’s work of an individual from outside the Catalan-speaking territories, written in any language, who has played a key role in promoting Catalan history and culture, or the significant theoretical or practical contribution of an individual from any country to the knowledge, recognition, promotion or safeguarding of one or more stateless cultures or nations. Dating back 28 years, it is jointly awarded by the Ramon Llull Foundation and the Fundació Congrés de Cultura Catalana and carries a 6,000 euro prize.

This year’s prize for linguistic diversity was unanimously awarded to linguist Christer Laurén. The jury praised Laurén’s “ongoing contributions to language immersion, the defense of minoritized languages as a tool for social cohesion in education, and the promotion of Catalan and international language immersion.”

Professor Joaquim Arnau received the prize on behalf of Christer Laurén at the Ramon Llull International Awards ceremony. Arnau noted that Laurén was a world-renowned expert in language immersion who has endeavored to promote minoritized languages in the academic and educational spheres. Laurén is also a leading expert in specialized language for science, communication and technology. Arnau concluded by citing Professor Laurén’s famous quotation: “If you wish to understand others, begin by learning the language spoken by your neighbors.”

Photographs of the awards ceremony are available on the Government of Andorra’s Flickr page.

The Ramon Llull Foundation celebrated the seventh edition of the Ramon Llull International Award in Andorra today

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