British historian Bettany Hughes receives the Helena Vaz da Silva European Prize for Cultural Heritage / 2018 in Lisbon today at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
The award was given to the historian last June for “her way of communicating the past in a popular and exciting way,” according to the jury’s statement.
At today’s ceremony, at 18:30, in the auditorium 03 of the Gulbenkian Foundation, which will be attended by the Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, will also be presented the Portuguese project winner of the European Union Award for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards / 2018, attributed to the rehabilitation of the Botanical Garden of the National Palace of Queluz, on the outskirts of Lisbon.
This project also won the Europa Nostra’s Choice of the Public Award, being the first time that Portugal received this award.
The ceremony ends with the reading of a message from the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The British historian’s choice “is to honor Hughes’ exceptional personality, shown repeatedly in his way of communicating the past in a popular and enthusiastic way,” and takes into account the “vital need to build a vision of our multifaceted identity,” in an age of nationalism and populism, as stated in the jury’s statement published on the CNC’s website.
“Bettany Hughes tells stories of the past that have crossed millennia, maintaining their meaning nowadays,” reads the statement of the president of the CNC, Maria Calado, made on behalf of the jury. “In today’s society, the influence of nationalism and populism seems to grow easily, making it vital to build a vision of our multifaceted identity and to open the door to the rich heritage we enjoy.”
The European Helena Vaz da Silva Prize was established in 2013 by the CNC, in cooperation with Europa Nostra, the European heritage organization that the CNC represents in Portugal, and the Portuguese Press Club, for exceptional contributions to the protection and dissemination of the cultural heritage and European ideals.
At the time, last June, when the winner was announced, Bettany Hughes said she was “very moved by the jury’s decision”.
“I am truly honoured, both for the choice and for the association with the name of Helena Vaz da Silva. This prize inspires me to redouble my efforts to support, celebrate and save the heritage of Europe,” said Bettany Hughes in the CNC statement.
A member of the University of Oxford, a researcher specializing in the History and Culture of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Bettany Hughes has also been in charge of television and radio programs for about 25 years and has also drawn attention to the position of women in society, both past and present.
She has taught at Cambridge, Cornell, Bristol, Maastricht, Utrecht and Manchester, is a tutor at the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge and a Research Fellow at King’s College London, and is expected to join the New College of the Humanities as visiting professor.
Her first book, “Helena de Troia: Goddess, Princess, Prostitute” is published in Portugal (Alêtheia, 2008).
The European Prize Helena Vaz da Silva (1939-2002) recalls the Portuguese journalist, writer, cultural and political activist, “and her remarkable contribution to the dissemination of European cultural heritage and ideals”, recalls the CNC.
Each year it is awarded annually to a European citizen who has been distinguished by the dissemination, defence and promotion of Europe’s cultural heritage, whether through literary and musical works or through articles, articles, chronicles, photographs, cartoons, documentaries, fiction films, and radio or television programs. ”
Italian writer Claudio Magris was the first European Nobel Prize winner Helena Vaz da Silva in 2013, followed by the Turkish writer, distinguished with Nobel Prize for Literature Orhan Pamuk, in 2014, the Spanish musician Jordi Savall in 2015, the cartoonist French filmmaker Jean Plantureux, known as Plantu, and the Portuguese essayist Eduardo Lourenço, ‘ex aequo’ in 2016, and last year the German filmmaker Wim Wenders.