MONTEVIDEO – Enrique Iglesias, former head of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, or SEGIB, was awarded the Delmira Agustini Medal by the government on Tuesday in recognition of his contributions to the development and promotion of Uruguay’s arts and culture.
The award, named in honor of Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini (1886-1914), has been given since 2013 to individuals who make an outstanding contribution to arts and culture in the South American country.
“Enrique Iglesias became a Uruguayan by choice and is one of the most brilliant examples in Uruguayan public education,” Education and Culture Minister Maria Julia Muñoz said.
Iglesias, an accountant born in Spain in 1930, has served as president of Uruguay’s Central Bank and foreign minister; executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, or ECLAC; president of the Inter-American Development Bank; and head of the SEGIB.
During his tenure as Uruguay’s top diplomat between 1985 and 1988, Iglesias promoted the restoration of the Teatro Solis, one of the major theaters in the country, and provided support when the South American nation became capital of Ibero-American culture in 2013, Muñoz said.
“This honor is very special for me,” Iglesias said. “It is a prize for all the opportunity that life has given to me to support culture and, through that support, to be a little happier myself.”
“The big issues and misunderstandings around the world continue to be cultural,” Iglesias said, adding that as a citizen of Ibero-America he felt “a great responsibility” to promote solidarity, freedom and respect for human rights.
The awards ceremony took place at the still-unfinished Federico Garcia Lorca Cultural Center being built in Montevideo to honor the Spanish poet.
The guests included Vice President Raul Sendic, Economy Minister Danilo Astori, Spanish Ambassador Roberto Varela and European Union Ambassador Juan Fernandez Trigo.