The UAB inaugurates its academic year at the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallès

Federico Mayor Zaragoza i el claustre del Monestir de Sant Cugat del Vallès

The UAB's 50th anniversary celebrations began on 21 September with an opening lecture by former Director-General of UNESCO Federico Mayor Zaragoza. The event was held at the Monastery of Sant Cugat with a performance by the Comediants.


The institutional event which marked the beginning of the UAB's 50th anniversary celebrations took place on 21 September at 6 p.m. at the cloister of the Monastery of Sant Cugat; the same location in which the university inaugurated its first academic year (1968-1969). For health reasons, Federico Mayor Zaragoza was not be able personally to attend and give the opening lecture of the 2017/18 academic year, entitled "La universitat, capdavantera en la invenció del futur" (The University, Leader in Inventing the Future).  However, a video of his speech was projected at the cloister and also streamed during the institutional event. The ceremony included a performance by the Comediants Theatre Company. Attending the event were Santi Vila, Minister for Business and Knowledge; Mercè Conesa, Mayor of Sant Cugat del Vallès; and UAB Rector Margarita Arboix. The event was broadcast live through the RTVE website.

Mayor Zaragoza is professor in biochemistry at the University of Grenada, where he also was rector from 1968 to 1972. He later was made professor of the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he co-founded the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Centre (a UAM-CSIC institute). He was also director of the Molecular Biology Institute and president of the Spanish Biochemistry Society, the European Research Council Expert Group and the Initiative for Science in Europe.

Institutionally, before being elected Director-General of UNESCO in 1987, he was Undersecretary of Education and Sciences in the Spanish Government, Adviser to President Adolfo Suárez, Minister for Education and Science and member of the Spanish and European Parliaments. He was also responsible for drawing up the Spanish National Plan for Mental Health Prevention.

Under his guidance, the UNESCO created the Culture of Peace Programme. The result of this programme gave way in 1999 to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly. That same year, while he was still director-general, Mayor Zaragoza founded the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, and later became Co-President for the UN High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations.

In 1988, Mayor Zaragoza was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the UAB.

Adaptation of The Book of the Beasts by the Comediants theatre company
The Comediants presented their Homo fabularum, an adaptation of their theatre show "El llibre de les bèsties" especially designed for the UAB's 50th anniversary inauguration ceremony (original staging directed by Joan Font with texts by Xesc Barceló, wardrobe by Joan Josep Guillem and music by Ramón Calduch).

Adapted and directed by Jaume Bernadet Munné and produced by Jin Hua Kuan, the performance was presented at the Cloister of the Monastery of Sant Cugat. It explains the story of a student whose thesis, entitled Homo fabularum, is based on the affirmation that Ramon Llull was the first Erasmus student.

Collaboration of the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation
The ceremony was streamed live by Ràdio Televisió Espanyola (RTVE) and presented by journalist and UAB alumni Marta Càceres.


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