I have had the honour of writing and speaking about the great Joaquín Antuña, President and Founder of Peace and Cooperation, and his latest books. He always did it with great satisfaction and joy, feelings that all of his countless friends have shared. Unfortunately, today the reason that brings me to this stage is his death, announced this very morning.
I think Joaquín had a presentiment of this outcome because just a few days before, he called me to thank me for my friendship and help in his cause, which, in other words, was nothing more than sowing good, starting with the youngest, so that they were educated in the values of peace and solidarity. There was no doubt that he was saying goodbye.
It is a great loss. Joaquín has led a long life of honest, selfless and successful work. His proverbial good humour and keen sense of observation are reflected in his numerous books. Every day he delighted us with those sharp chronicles in Galicia Digital. It was the best way to start the day. And like that was his work, serious and without a rest, enjoyable and brotherly.
We will miss you a lot and our only consolation is thinking that you leave with the satisfaction of your achieved duty. Also, with the great example that you leave to us and the certainty that you will be unrepeatable. The members of the Board of Peace and Cooperation will not forget you, nor will the friends you leave, whom I have previously referred to.
Rest in peace.
Arturo Pérez Martínez
Ambassador of Spain and Board member of Peace and Cooperation
Joaquín Antuña; a prophet of our time in the culture of peace and human rights.
This week, the president and founder of the Peace and Cooperation Foundation, Joaquin Antuña, a great advocate of human rights and a champion of the culture of peace, has passed away.
I knew Joaquín Antuña for years now, through the several diplomatic events at which we took part. He decided to invite me to be part of the project of the Peace and Cooperation Foundation, that he had founded in 1982 and consolidated as a foundation in 1998, and of which, I have the honour of being part of the board. He used to call me “Mr. Europe”, and we always argued if venturing the life in a pro-European commitment was compatible with one more focused in globalism and in the area of United Nations. I used to repeat to him that the European Union, like the United Nations, are committed to the human rights and the promotion of the culture of peace, and we used to end up laughing together and nodding.
Together we could organize the award, ‘Peace and Cooperation for the freedom of conscience’, which was given to the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) of Cuba, Eduardo Cardet, the successor at the head of the CLM of Oswaldo Payá.
Joaquin Antuña studied at the Jesuits and he graduated in Law at the Complutense University of Madrid. He did postgraduate studies at the prestigious Institute d’Etudes Politiques of Paris. He was a great traveller, publicist and polyglot. He spoke and wrote five languages and spoke broken another five. He lived in Germany, Italy and Mexico, where he performed different tasks for the United Nations, and at all times he practiced his social activism. In Rome, the meeting with Aurelio Peccei, the founder of the Club of Rome, marked a radical turn in his life, discovering the worldwide problem, even if his conversations with Mother Teresa were the ones which would stimulate him to give concrete form to this powerful view.
The defence of human rights and the promotion of the culture of peace, through creativity by using the organization of different campaigns, forums and school awards. He believed that renouncing to the option of destroying, which generates violence, brings with it the creative effort of building. To work in this direction, he defended acting in favor of the disarmament, the development, the claim of human rights, of the solidarity action, and of the education for universalism and for peace. He summarized his thought in the motto of the foundation: “Create and Survive”.
In Spain, he was pioneer in the field of development cooperation and education for peace. He bet big on democracy in the company of Joaquín Ruíz-Giménez, and he was the secretary of International Relations of Democratic Left. He wrote several books, articles and he participated in several forums, being a person very respected by his friends and by the credited diplomatic world in Spain. He was a great man, Asturian and Spaniard, who, paraphrasing Stefan Sweig’s referencing to Europe, was able to make the world the homeland of his election. Joaquín Antuña, friend, teacher, rests in peace.
Carlos Uriarte Sánchez
Secretary General of PanEuropa Spain and Board member of Peace and Cooperation