Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain presented from New York City the ‘Sophia Awards for Excellence’ at a gala held by the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute. The 2022 winner was Spanish chef José Andrés, while Spanish historian Carmen Iglesias and Mexican businessman Carlos Slim received the 2020 awards that were postponed due to the pandemic.
During the gala, Queen Doña Sofía highlighted that “in this exceptional year, after two years of the pandemic, we have three outstanding personalities who have done extraordinary work in history, philanthropy, and gastronomy. Excellence at work is the characteristic that has guided their decisions throughout decades of effort.”
The Queen said in her speech that it was a pleasure to return to New York and reward people whose work, both personal and professional, has contributed to strengthening the ties between Spain, the United States, and Latin America.
The “Sophia Awards for Excellence” honors her name — “wisdom” — and it is awarded to individuals or organizations that have actively contributed to the international appreciation of Spain and the Hispanic world, especially in the United States.
The president of the Royal Academy of History, Carmen Iglesias, valued “the relevance of understanding our history and legacy” to continue disseminating the historical links of our countries.
Carlos Slim also took the stage to detail some of the most important activities carried out by the Carlos Slim Foundation, recalling that “philanthropy and support for culture continue to be fundamental aspects of continuing advancing.”
Although José Andrés could not attend due to his commitments in Ukraine, the chef sent his daughter to represent him. In a recorded message, he thanked H.M. Queen Sofía for supporting Spanish and Hispanic culture in the US. “The two countries that occupy my heart,“ he said. Andrés also encouraged the attendees to continue ”dreaming and promoting what unites us and not what divides us, as it is, precisely, our culture.“
The executive director of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in New York, Begoña Santos, said that the winners have “great careers, which exemplify the excellence of the Spanish-speaking world and help improve cultural relations between Spain, and the Hispanic world, and the United States.”
The event also welcomed other personalities from the academic, business, and cultural worlds and family members of the winners.