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IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona
IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

''With your enthusiasm, the IMPULSA generation will transform the world''

Words of H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias and of Girona at the closing ceremony of the IMPULSA Forum 2011.

  • H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias and Girona

A very good afternoon to you all. We have come to the end of an intense, stimulating day full of information and of ingredients for reflection, for learning and, in short, for advancing. Caught up, as all of you surely are as well, by the values and the transforming capacity that have marked every moment of this year's IMPULSA Forum, I speak to you now with the great satisfaction of feeling that today has been and will continue to be useful and beneficial.

On beginning these words, allow me, on my own behalf and that of the Princess, to thank the civil society of all the counties of Girona as well as their Authorities for the support they have provided to the Foundation from the start and especially to the Forum that we are now closing.

The Foundation wants the counties of Girona to be acknowledged for their dedication to youth, and for being the starting point and reference territory of projects, like the Forum and the Prizes, that help to familiarize our young people with the spirit that moves us. This year, hundreds of young people from across Spain have become acquainted with the unique personality of this city: I am sure that they will not forget it and that for them it will be the reference of this spirit which has hopefully captivated them and caught them up in its enthusiasm.

The presence of trustees from different corners of our country allows us to extend our action from Girona to the rest of Catalonia and to Spain at large. We are deeply thankful to them all for their commitment to the Foundation's present and future, and for the support and cooperation they have shown on the presentations we have held in Seville, Zaragoza, Bilbao and Madrid, in conjunction with the members of our Advisory Council.

I am also very glad to say that all these cities are in complete accord with our goals and that they have a great affection for the FPdGi as well as a great interest in it. Their close rapport with our proposals and their respect for an institution such as ours, whose identifying traits are rooted in this land, are a reason for legitimate pride that encourages us in our endeavor to keep advancing in this integrative project.

At the Forum today we have been able to see that dreams can become a reality and that we can create a future with enthusiasm as our fundamental tool. We have been accompanied here by people who have succeeded in this endeavor, and who have explained how they did it, each in a different place in the world and in different professional and human spheres. These people are top-level experts who have generously shared their knowledge with us, lending content and context to each of our Forum's four key elements, while making it clear that if we take good advantage of the circumstances at each moment and if we intelligently combine our feelings, imagination and effort, progress is in our hands.

This morning we said that we at the FPdGi firmly believe in the value of sharing. In this respect, four pairs of young and not so young people have shared their ideas and conversed here today, just as many other pairs of people have done in the months leading up to the Forum. They represent the combination of boldness and experience for change. The words of Mireia Seguí, a student of the University of Girona, have confirmed for us the value of this combination. The ideas that have emerged from these meetings will undoubtedly mark the values of IMPULSA, values that the Foundation seeks to spread to the full extent of its possibilities.

To round off each block, young people have movingly and enthusiastically described a project in progress which is the outcome of tenacity, willpower and endeavor, in India, Germany, Barcelona and Massachusetts.

A great many ideas have been presented here and they have all been set within a visual synthesis to allow us to suitably arrange our thoughts. There have also been numerous instances of interaction which, I hope, will allow us all, the young and the not so young, to return home brimming with ideas, projects, questions and even some answers.

Likewise, I hope that the businessmen, academics, professionals, educators, scientists and public servants who are among us here today, have enjoyed –and been marked by– the transforming energy that our young people have transmitted. These young people need you, so let's help them to channel and guide their energy in order that they may develop their full potential.

At one point in the morning, the Princess and I visited the parallel workshops so that we too could witness the energy with which so many adolescents, in record time, displayed their creativity and capacity of innovation in building a robot. I must say that they met this veritable challenge in a truly impressive way. We also visited the area in which children, that is to say, very young people in this case, used their imagination to design the school that they would like to have in the future. Their conclusions are sure to surprise us all.

In the afternoon, wind instruments and a beautiful young voice transported us with emotion to a world of rare sensations, after which we had the gratifying opportunity to experience a very original, distinctive and forceful performance that accompanied us in the farewell of IMPULSA 2011, combining voice and theater to offer a unique entertainment.

Our heartfelt thanks to you all: to the speakers, participants and artists who have allowed us to enjoy a very special and unforgettable day. It may be noted that this day has been under preparation for many months by a highly motivated and close-knit team which is moved, above all, by its enthusiasm for action and for helping to build the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Foundation's regular activities, together with the IMPULSA Forum and Prizes, are three mutually-sustaining spaces with their focus on young people in each case.

In these times of hardship, especially for youth, the IMPULSA Prizes seek, humbly but with conviction, to provide support to restless young people who are seeking their own path in life with hard work and effort. These prizes were created one year ago in conjunction with the first Forum, with the aim to promote, favor and foster the initiative of bold creative young people who are willing to take risks, who add value to their work and who consider failures to be opportunities – young people who are also concerned about the effects of everything they do on our surroundings.

For the FPdGi, last year's prize-winners are the spokespeople of many young people's opinions. A few minutes ago, we heard what the award received last year has meant for one prize-winner's professional project. We are very happy indeed to find that all of them, during the past year, in their own particular fields, have made significant achievements as a result of their effort and dedication. Thank you for sharing your progress with the Foundation.

As you all know, the IMPULSA Prizes also acknowledge the work of an organization that, just like our Foundation, focuses its efforts and resources on youth. This year the prize for an organization has gone to Fundación Balia, which devotes its activity in the Region of Madrid to children and young people from disadvantaged environments and in risk of exclusion, working on such fundamental issues as school failure, education in values, social inclusion and prevention of violence.

Romain Quidant left his hometown of Dijon to unfold his impressive research work in our country. His advanced interdisciplinary developments in the field of early diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment of certain types of cancer by means of gold nano-particles made a deep impression on the Jury of the Scientific and Academic Prize.

Borja Bagunyà, for his part, despite having begun his studies at the Faculty of Medicine, as you have been able to hear, has always followed his literary calling. We hope that this worthy winner of the IMPULSA Prize in Sports and Culture  will be treating us to many more pages of his writing in the future and that, through translations, his work may reach large numbers of readers worldwide.

Marc Bonavia, the winner of the Business Prize, founded SIT Mobile at the age of 24. Although his Pharmacy studies had taken him to the Netherlands, he soon discovered that the communication technologies were his true calling. Overcoming numerous obstacles, the company that he founded with Enric Solé and his constant support of young entrepreneurs through the Association of Young Businessmen make him a model for many young people.

Dr. Pere Barri has been awarded the Social Area Prize for his endeavors, including his contribution to the fight against the "silent disease of Africa". Most particularly, thanks to him and his team, an ever increasing number of women who have been victims of ablation and who now find themselves in our country can take advantage of an advanced reconstruction service that is provided free of charge.

Congratulations to all five prize-winners. We wish you great success and sincerely hope you will maintain your ties with the Foundation. From now on, if you will allow us to put it this way, your achievements will be to a small extent our own.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

No time was ever easy and our present time is, of course, no exception. Spain must confront not only the economic crisis, but also the diverse generalized changes that are taking place in our world. These are changes that affect the natural environment, society, life expectancy, technology, transport and more – changes that are far-reaching in scope and often unforeseen.

We live in a society in which the abundance and quality of technological and human resources often coexist with economic insecurity, precariousness and inequality. What's more, a substantial number of young people cannot find a job at present. We cannot allow them to despair or to feel or see themselves as materially, socially or emotionally excluded, for their own sake, from the personal standpoint, and for the sake of Spain's future.

Together we must seek solutions to our problems, beyond disillusionment or discouragement, so that we can once again lead our country into the future with strength, assurance and trust.

In the past month of October, I said in Asturias that times of crisis oblige us to "redefine projects and ways of life". I encouraged everyone to lend a "greater vigor and impetus to our public life" by renewing behaviors, changing attitudes and, in a word, strengthening our institutions since "the solutions expected by citizens can and must be developed through them". I also asked everyone to "seek moderation where there has been excess; ethics where there has been abuse, and to act in this way with realism, courage and rigor on the basis of integrity, effort and the culture of work well done".

All this poses an enormous challenge and I am sure that you will agree that, in order to meet it successfully, Spain needs the participation of each and every one of its citizens. No one should stand apart. These are not times for division, but rather for integration and for the joining of efforts.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to devote my final words specifically to the over 500 young people who have taken part in the Forum. Today we have heard that the future will be global. No one doubts this and we all know that today's young people must show as much concern for the world at large as for their most immediate surroundings.

Cities and countries will be competitive if their citizens are competitive. Girona will be global if its young people are global. Each new language that young people learn will open the doors for them to a new way of thinking, a new culture and a new way of looking at the world. It will make them more global and, consequently, more competitive and better prepared for the future. Excellence or acknowledgment in your field or activity is very important, but even more important is the positive approach and attitude with which you confront your professional and personal life. That is your responsibility.

You young people who have attended the Forum have done so because you have concerns and aspirations, because you want to learn, see, share and discuss things. You are far removed from passivity and resignation. For this reason, let me say that your presence and commitment here today are good reason for optimism and hope.

To come to Girona and to this Auditorium reveals in you a positive, open and receptive attitude and a constructive spirit, even if on other occasions this spirit may be critical and at times very much so. You form part of a powerful generation of young people who are willing to accept their responsibilities, their social role and their place on the stage, and who are willing to make their way in life on their own, with the value of solidarity added to their personal assets.

Today we have seen young Spaniards speaking and standing out here together with young people from other countries. Once again we have seen that we have well-trained young people with brilliant minds. They stand out for their restlessness, for their capacity of adaptation, for their effort in achieving their personal goals, and for their wish to be useful and beneficial to everyone's social advance in freedom and democracy.

I hope that the Forum has met your expectations. I also hope you will be returning home, to your schools, to your universities, your jobs or your companies full of energy and inspired by the testimonies you have heard, with a broader and more open view of the reality which you must confront. Lastly, I hope you feel satisfied with your participation and contributions and that the example of the IMPULSA prize-winners has stimulated your initiative and led you to ask yourself "Why don't I do something important, too?".

Above all, however, I hope that the Forum has convinced you –and that it will lead you to convince your friends and acquaintances– that the times to come call for a new outlook, an active spirit and an entrepreneurial attitude which, combined with enthusiasm and solid training, will give your life the impetus it requires, to your own benefit and that of all Spain.

As from today, you all form part of what we at the Foundation call the "IMPULSA generation". With your enthusiasm and support, this generation will grow day by day, with each activity, each Forum and each Prize. With your enthusiasm, the IMPULSA generation will transform the world.

Thanks very much to all.

Gràcies a tothom.

Impulsa - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

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