Recipient of the 2020 Gender Equality Award María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, UA Gold Medal Francis Mojica and 156 Special Awards recipients were the stars of the closing ceremony of the University of Alicante 40th anniversary celebrations
UA President Palomar reviewed his eight years at the head of the institution and highlighted the main lines of his term of office: to defend the public university and connect it to society, to improve university financing and, mainly, to work for the people’s interests
The University of Alicante ended the UA 40th anniversary commemoration on Friday within the context of Saint Thomas Aquinas celebrations. The UA auditorium was dressed up for a special day in which, the 2020 Gender Equality Award was presented to María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the UA Gold Medal to Francis Mojica and Special Undergraduate and Master's Awards were presented to 156 students. The ceremony was attended by Regional Government of Catalonia President Ximo Puig, Presidents of the Universities of Elche, Valencia, Murcia and Jaume I, Regional Minister of Finance and Regional Ministers for Healthcare and Universities, among others.
The first words of the UA President were addressed to the graduates of the 2018-2019 academic year, represented by their colleagues who won the special awards in their respective disciplines. He congratulated them and pointed out that society is placing all its expectations on them to reach a fairer, freer and more united world where they will live up to it
Palomar, as he recalled in his speech, is living his last months as the University of Alicante President, and wanted to review the main lines that have governed his two terms of office that he summarised in four points. The defence at all costs of public education and universities as a means to a freer and fairer society. Its commitment to weaving complicities and building bridges with society, convinced that the public university must play a crucial role in solving the problems of society; on university funding, as he recalled that our current budget is still based on 2009 levels. He pointed out that only through better funding of Valencia's public universities would they be able to develop efficient joint strategies to contribute to the necessary change in the productive model as centres generating innovation and knowledge. Finally, his conviction in defence of people’s interests has been the guiding principle of his team action and his logbook, always plenty of incidents in the years since his first term of office.
The closing ceremony of the University of Alicante 40th anniversary celebrations had a particular emphasis in the event. UA President made a broad review of the history of the young university that was born from an unquestionable core commitment of Alicante society on 30 October 1979, which has been devoted to teaching people to think for four decades.
The commemoration of the 40th anniversary included the recognition of the relevance of the Erasmus programme, the main role of Europe, through the first student who came to our university Maurizio Oliviero now President of the University of Perugia, with which we have excellent relations and educational and research partnerships. A special recognition was also made of the University of the Itajaí Valley (UNIVALI) with which we have a strategic relationship for over two decades, in all university scopes, that is educational, scientific and cultural, and that increases year after year.
2020 Gender Equality Award
The ceremony also served to present the 2020 Gender Equality Award to María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, former Vice President of the Spanish Government, President of the Council of State and founder of the Women for Africa Foundation, among others.
UA Vice President for Corporate Social Responsibility, Inclusion and Gender Equality María José Rodríguez was responsible for the laudatio of the award winner. There, she highlighted the importance of María Teresa Fernández de la Vega in the history of the work carried out so that women have a voice in the collective work of building a democratic society, since effective equality is necessary to speak of democracy and social progress.
In turn, UA President was in charge of presenting the award and he pointed out that de la Vega has defended the value of diversity towards gender equality, a diversity that has led her to develop truly changing projects with enormous social impact. Her initiatives have always sought to eradicate multiple discriminations against women and their empowerment, which have an immediate impact on progress and local, regional and global development.
De la Vega was grateful for the recognition of the University of Alicante. In her speech, she said that this award is also for the anonymous women of history who lived through centuries of patriarchy and who do not appear in history books. She also insisted that not only women, but all democrats have to strengthen their efforts in pursuit of equality as we must continue to heal the democratic division represented by inequalities.
The other person honoured today during the celebration of St Thomas Aquinas and the 40th anniversary of the University of Alicante was researcher Francisco Juan Martínez Mojica, who received the institution's Gold Medal. The person in charge of presenting the medal to the awardee was UA Registrar Esther Algarra, who highlighted — in addition to his well-known merits from the discovery of the CRISPR technology that marked a milestone in the world genetic research — the important positive international impact for the University of Alicante. He has been described as a cautious hero, as well as a humble, modest, discreet, careful, sensible, straightforward, accessible, kind, close, warm and endearing person.
Mojica recalled his beginnings at the University of Alicante and it was precisely in this setting and within the context of Saint Thomas Aquinas celebrations that he received his first award.
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