The 2008 Prince of Asturias Awards ceremony has taken place in Oviedo, the capital of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain.
Dubbed the “Spanish Nobel prize”, the awards are handed out by Crown Prince Felipe to individuals or organisations from around the world for their achievements in the fields of sciences, humanities or public affairs.
Tennis world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain received this year’s Award for Sports.
The prize for Communication and Humanities went to internet search engine Google.
Four African organisations were rewarded for their fight against malaria with the Award for International Cooperation, and Bulgarian philosopher Tzetan Todorov received the prize for Social Sciences.
Venezuela’s Youth and Children Orchestra was awarded the Prince of Asturias prize for the Arts, which was picked up by its president Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu.
Canadian author Margaret Atwood was rewarded for her work with the Letters Award, delivering a touching speech ahead of the ceremony.
The Scientific and Technical Research Award went to one Japanese and four US scientists for their innovative work in nanotechnology.
Finally, the Prince of Asturias for Concord went to Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. She spent more than six years as a FARC hostage in the Colombian jungle: “For a hostage, Christmas is the worst time of year,” she said. “Some of my friends are calling for everyone around the world to march altogether on one day, before Christmas, on the 28th of November, to call for all of Colombia’s hostages to be freed. From here, a world where we have everything, I am asking for you to reach out to those who have lost everything,” added Betancourt, to loud applause.