Joaquim Maria Puyal: "It is of utmost importance to want to make yourself understood and to want to understand"

Margarita Arboix i Joaquim Maria Puyal
With this recognition of Joaquim Maria Puyal's contributions to the normalisation of Catalan in the media, the UAB ends its series of five exceptional honorary doctorates awarded in celebration of the university's 50th anniversary.


Joaquim Maria Puyal closed the series of exceptional honorary doctorates awarded in celebration of the UAB's 50th anniversary with a master class on "the will to communicate". According to the journalist: "It is of utmost importance to want to make yourself understood and to want to understand". UAB Rector Margarita Arboix congratulated him by highlighting "an exquisite care in the form, content and respect for the truth" of someone who is a "clear defender of free, honest and meticulous journalism". The ceremony took place on 7 May at the UAB Rectorat building.

His master class on the will to communicate, in which he incorporated many multimedia samples, was based on nine points corresponding to the different aspects of his professional task as a communicator: words, voice, tone, rhythm, style, look, space, touch, language and "honest subjectivity". Puyal was also awarded the honorary doctorate in acknowledgement of his contribution in normalising the use of Catalan in the media, starting with the first football match to be broadcast in Catalan in 1976. In his speech, he paid tribute to the sport by saying that "thanks to Barça and Messi, their goals have been heard in Catalan around the world".

The UAB's newest honorary doctor also mentioned his "disappointment" when offering "a sincere evaluation of the current state of journalism, language and country". He defended the commitment journalism must have to create a society which is "more responsible, more supportive, less fearless, less hostile, less dogmatic and with a greater amount of liberty". He ended his speech by expressing his gratitude to the UAB and to all of those who have given him support during his 50 years as a journalist: his family, professional team and "our listeners and spectators who make our work worthwhile".

"A Great Communicator"

In her speech, Rector Arboix told Puyal she felt "very honoured" that "the UAB was privileged enough to benefit from your experience and all of your humanity". She described the new honorary doctor as "a great communicator who has demonstrated social commitment, always thinking on the right of citizens to receive information". She especially highlighted his radio commentaries, classifying them as a "cultural, informative and educational product" which goes far beyond a simple broadcast of a sports event. Miquel de Moragas, Honorary Professor of the UAB Department of Media, Communication and Culture and sponsor of Puyal, reminded the audience of his training in information sciences at the UAB, and spoke on his contributions to the "terminology" of the sector. He described Puyal as an "informer, mediator, narrator, guarantor of neutrality and defender of the right to know".

The ceremony included several lecturers in journalism who were eager to participate in this homage to their mentor Puyal. The UAB Chamber Choir performed Messi, a song by Bruno Oro and arranged by Poire Vallvé, as well as Sumer is icumen in, a medieval English round or rota of the mid-13th century. The performance ended with Universitas, composed by Poire Vallvé and Rafel Simó specifically for the UAB's 50th anniversary, as well as the traditional university anthem Gaudeamus igitur.

Among the exceptional honorary doctorates in celebration of the UAB's 50th anniversary, Joaquim Maria Puyal's award corresponds to his commitment to the Catalan language and society. The four honorary doctorates already awarded corresponded to freedom of expression (Congolese lawyer and also journalist Caddy Adzuba), solidarity (microbiologist and activist Marie-Paule Kieny), cultural identity (sculptor Jaume Plensa) and knowledge (American physicist Lisa Randall).

More information: The Audacity of Knowledge: 50 years UAB
Honorary doctorate investiture ceremony for Joaquim Maria Puyal