Good afternoon, welcome to this very special celebration. Today is a big day for the Rafael del Pino Foundation: we are celebrating its twentieth birthday. And we want to do so with those of you who have accompanied us over the years and made this project possible. A celebration among friends and without protocols.
"A free man is he who, having the strength and talent to do a thing, finds no hindrance to his will," said Hobbes.
In the twilight of 1999, Rafael del Pino y Moreno, our father, after some years of reflection, decided to set up the Foundation that bears his name, with the noble aim of contributing to the training of our leaders and providing them with a space in which to broaden their knowledge. He, who had a great curiosity for all branches of knowledge, firmly believed that a better understanding of the political, economic and social environment, and of history, helps those who have management responsibilities to make the right decisions.
Seneca made generosity shine out as one of the great virtues that embellish the human soul. With his generosity, our father wanted to give back to society part of what he had received from it throughout his personal and professional life. For the development of the project, as he emphasised, he counted and counts on the commitment of his family. His wife, my mother, his children and now also his grandchildren.
The Founder is no longer with us, but his legacy continues to inspire our work. Today's event should be a cause for recognition and a fitting tribute to him and a pretext for remembering the wealth of initiatives carried out by the Foundation over the last two decades.
The Foundation's mission is defined in its statutes and deserves to be remembered at the present time: to contribute to improving the training of leaders, to promote individual initiative, free market principles and free enterprise, and to publicise the most important events in our history.
The words on the wall to your right are particularly relevant today, as they sum up very well our father's thinking and his motivation for the creation of the Foundation.
I don't read them because you will hear them later.
I am going to mention some of the Programmes that have served to channel these ideas, or in other words, to lay the foundations for the Foundation's project.
The scholarship programme was the activity with which the Foundation started its activity. The highly competitive Excellence Scholarships have been awarded to 283 scholarship holders who have been trained in the best teaching and research centres in the world. I am delighted to say that the results have been very positive. Leading companies in the field of technology and innovation are directly linked to scholarship holders who have opted for entrepreneurship. Other scholarship holders have followed different and always promising paths. In some cases, they are working as lecturers at world-class universities or in management positions in leading companies. Not forgetting the scholarship holders who work in leading Spanish and international public bodies.
To achieve its objectives, the Foundation has also launched a wide range of training programmes. Leaders, trainers and entrepreneurs have been the main target groups. Here is a good representation of participants, including former Spanish government ministers. Thank you Fátima Báñez and José Manuel Soria for joining us.
The figures speak louder than words. In the 515 Training Programmes, 122,000 people have participated; I will not go into details that will be shown in pictures; but I would like to point out that the Founder insisted on giving singular importance to the training of trainers, because of its great multiplying effect and its high rates of return on the educational system and on society in general.
We also give a nod to the youngest, having been founding partners, as seed capital, of such consolidated projects as LQDVI, Unleash and Celera. Or, through our INICIA programme, we bring to secondary and high schools in Madrid, for the moment, the experiences of entrepreneurs told in first person, helping to spread among students the values of individual initiative and entrepreneurial freedom. Thank you, Ricard and Cristina for joining us in this adventure.
Freedom, that natural companion of our lives, which may be under threat in these turbulent times, must be defended more than ever. It is not in vain that our friend and collaborator Carlos Rodríguez Braun calls this house the house of freedom.
In addition, the Foundation has organised 325 keynote lectures and 223 expert meetings with the participation of very prominent personalities from the academic, business and political spheres, including more than 30 Nobel Prize winners and Heads of State and Government, as you will see later on.
Complementing the above, the Foundation takes advantage of new technologies and has made its activities available to all citizens for monitoring and consultation. Through the frptv.es platform, anywhere in the world, the activities carried out by the Foundation can be followed live via streaming or consulted at any other time. The success of the platform is undeniable: it includes 747 contents, has 100,000 streaming followers and has registered 1,200,000 downloads. Likewise, 15,000 people have participated in the training support programmes promoted by the Rafael del Pino Network School, where teachers such as Mauro Guillén, Luis Pérez Breva and Mario Alonso Puig are designing leadership and entrepreneurship courses.
Faithful to the Founder's mandate, we have paid particular attention to the knowledge of history. As a result, two books promoted by the Foundation have received two National History Prizes: José Antonio Escudero for his work Historia de la Monarquia, and Feliciano Barrios for La Gobernación de la Monarquía en España; and a Prize from the United States Academy of History has been awarded to Felipe Fernández Armesto for his work Our America, in which he highlights the contribution of Spaniards to the history of the USA.
The Founder did not want to forget those who, like him, had suffered a severe spinal cord injury. I am proud to tell of the Foundation's participation in the development of NC1, the first Spanish drug made from patients' own cells, which has been accepted by the Spanish Medicines Agency, developed by Dr Vaquero's team at the Puerta de Hierro Hospital in Madrid with excellent results, still at a very early stage.
In relation to spinal cord injuries, I cannot finish without mentioning the construction and start-up, not without some difficulties, of the Rafael del Pino Sports Complex in the vicinity of the National Hospital for Paraplegics in Toledo.
This has been our little story, necessarily summarised. 20 years invite reflection, and also an evaluation of the Foundation's impact on people. Because at the heart of all projects are people, and it is very stimulating to hear testimonies of how the Foundation has contributed to changing lives. The past is, above all, a school of learning and a preamble to the future. The Foundation will continue with the activity guided by its mission and its commitment to people, adapted to new times, new needs and new challenges.
In the future, our efforts will be aimed, in particular, at promoting the culture of innovation in the current context of technological disruption; strengthening the innovative ecosystem and Spanish talent in the educational, industrial and business spheres; reinforcing our training programmes aimed at trainers, entrepreneurs and innovators; reinforcing and consolidating the networks of leaders; promoting the immersion of young scientists in the world's leading innovation systems; and, finally, strengthening our virtual campus by offering training in the aforementioned areas.
I would like to end with words of gratitude. Gratitude is justified, since the Foundation's activities have been the result of a collective effort, as many of you have contributed to making this young Foundation a global and prestigious institution.
Firstly, its Board of Trustees, on whose behalf I would like to expressly thank all those who have collaborated with the Foundation. It is only fair to begin with the Board of Trustees, its Executive Committee and its Advisory Council, for you have steered the Foundation at all times: through success and adversity. You have always contributed your experience and good advice, and you have always found the most appropriate path and the most suitable solution to the questions that have been put to you.
I would also like to expressly mention the small but very efficient team of the Foundation. The objectives would not have been achieved without the intense work of Pilar, Beatriz, Almudena, Javier, Macarena, Oihana, Lucía, Carlota, Isabel, María José and Josefina. An articulate team characterised by its generous and loyal commitment, always led with a masterful hand by its two directors: first, Amadeo Petitbò and, currently, Vicente Montes. Nothing would have been the same without you.
To the first secretary of the Board, Ricardo López Moiras, and the current secretary, José Ignacio Ysasi Ysasmendi and his deputy secretary, Teresa López de Silanes, for their conscientious work as guarantors of legality. And for being there for everything. To the professionals who are in charge of seeking the best return on the founding capital, a vital task to make the projects a reality and to sustain the Foundation in the long term, without forgetting those who keep the palace and the Auditorium in perfect condition and those who watch over our security, in particular Jesús, Jose, José Antonio and Miguel Ángel.
Our gratitude must be extended to the Excellence Fellows and their Association, who bring new lifeblood to the F with their ideas and projects: a group of committed, generous people who are aligned with the Foundation's objectives. Those of you who are here today are a good example. Thank you for always being close to us. And, in particular, to its successive presidents, who have been able to give life to the Association, project it and promote its leadership capacity: Matías Irigoyen, Javier Camacho, Gerardo Montells, Francisco Hernández Marcos, Patricia Gabaldón, Guillermo Moya, Enrique Peña, Manuel Giménez, current Minister of Economy and Employment of the Community of Madrid; and Bernardo Navazo, current president accompanied today by his vice-president Dámaso Riaño.
Thanks also to the Rafael del Pino professors who have contributed their proven wisdom and expertise.
We are accompanied by Manuel Muñiz, and Pedro Schwartz, a tireless defender of freedom. And, finally, thanks to all of you who have collaborated with the Foundation or participated in its activities.
All of you, among others, have been outstanding contributors to the construction of this great project which, I can assure you, will continue in the years to come with the same eagerness, the same objectives and the same commitment to Spain, for these are principles that cannot be renounced.
I am sure the Founder would be proud of the work done and the achievements made.
I will finish now. But first I would like to thank two excellent musicians: a cellist and a pianist who have offered to give us a concert, which will round off today's event with a flourish and bring us an early Christmas. I am honoured to say that they are scholarship holders of excellence of the Rafael del Pino Foundation. Thank you Elías, thank you Jorge. Thank you for accepting this challenge, living one in Chicago and the other in New York. They arrived yesterday morning and have only had yesterday afternoon and this morning to rehearse together. We appreciate the effort. It is a pleasure to have your presence and your music.
Thank you all for joining us today, despite the busy schedule, and despite the rain. I've gone on longer than usual, as I don't have a speaker behind me this afternoon, but I thought the occasion deserved it.
Maria del Pino