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Federico Mayor Zaragoza

Date of investiture:
31 October 2013
Ángel-Pío González Soto
Area of knowledge:
Education Sciences

A professor in biochemistry at the Universitat Autònoma de Madrid and Catalan diplomat, Federico Mayor Zaragoza is the president of the Peace Culture Foundation and former director-general of UNESCO. He was most intensely involved in politics during Adolfo Suárez's second government when he was appointed minister of education and, at the end of the 1980s, as a deputy of the European Parliament for the party Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD).

For his contribution to politics he was awarded the Gold Medal and the Saint George's Cross by the Catalan government, but he has also focused on changing the current education system, which he has described as 'antieducational', a position that is frontally opposed to the latent education laws.

In his speech, Mayor Zaragoza totally identified with the thoughts of his uncle and politician Marcel·lí Domingo: "education was being, not having". He also said that he was proud of his parents and his roots in Tortosa.

His social commitment, universal vision and critical rigour are some of the features that the rector Francesc Xavier Grau stressed when talking of the attributes of the new honorary-degree holder, who he defined as "a man from Tortosa with a universal heart."