Balearic chief minister Francesc Antich yesterday presented the Community's gold medals to the Institute of Ibizan Studies, the Ateneu of Mahon (Minorca) and the Societat Arqueologica Lulliana. He also presented the Ramon Llull prizes, one of which went to British scholar Jocelyn Hillgarth. The ceremony took place in the Lonja and was attended by the local authorities and personalities of the worlds of culture and finance. Antich made a speech in which he called for the collaboration of everyone “to eradicate the remains of an historical pessimism.” He added that it was time to boost self esteem and banish self hate. After defending the right to disagree as “the origin of dialogue,” he said “we are working with the aim of making a plural State, federal in character, in which all nationalities can feel comfortable through respect for differences and discrepancies.” Antich went on to speak of safety for consumers and workers and equal opportunities for women and the disabled, saying “we must be belligerent with abuses which may be committed through irresponsibility or imprudence.” The first of the gold medals went to the Institute of Ibizan Studies is the cultural entity which has contributed most to maintaining the collective identity of Ibiza and Formentera. It organises language courses, fiestas and publishes books. The Ateneu, a scientific, literary and artistic circle in Mahon was founded in 1905, to express the ideals of a group of intellectuals. It has founded a choir, an excursion group, the chamber of commerce and led the fight against TB. It has a library with 10'000 books and a museum of Minorcan flora and fauna. The Sociedad Arqueologica Lulliana was founded in Palma in 1880 to honour the member of Ramon Llull and collect his works, especially those of a religious character, to prevent them being lost, destroyed or taken out of Majorca. It also protects the island's monuments. Every two years it organises a congress for the defence of the cultural heritage. Jocelyn Hillgarth received the Ramon LLull prize for letters, as did Andreu Murillo. The prize for science went to Andreu Ripoll Muntaner; sports to Margalida Fullana, Joan Llaneras and Xavi Torres; civic activity to Llorenç Tous, financial initiative to the Fundación Deixalles and arts to Rafael Tur and Maruja Alfaro. The presentations were part of the Balearic Islands Day, which continues today, a public holiday, with an official act in Parliament, and colourful markets.


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