The 2017 Camino de Santiago Awards recognize the contributions of Galician society to preserving the values of the Way of St. James

  • Román Rodríguez and Nava Castro presented the awards today to institutions, associations, companies, researchers and schools whose initiatives are notable for their contributions to the maintenance, promotion and improvement of the pilgrimage to Compostela
  • Awards were received by the Melide Town Council, the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations, the Province of Lugo Friends of the Camino de Santiago Association, the company Ideas Peregrinas, the Spin Way project by RedEmprendia, the Department of the Way of St. James at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland) and A Merced School in the town of Sarria

Santiago de Compostela, 24 October 2017

The winners of the 2017 Camino de Santiago Awards received their awards today, with the Xunta de Galicia recognizing the contributions of Galician society to preserving the values of the Way of St. James. Secretary of Culture, Education and University Planning Román Rodríguez and Turismo de Galicia Director Nava Castro presented the awards to the seven winners for this edition.

The ceremony, which took place at the San Francisco Hotel Monumento, is part of the programme of activities commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Way of St. James as the first European Cultural Route, which began yesterday and will continue into November.

The Camino de Santiago Awards were divided into four categories. On this occasion, the first went to the Municipality of Melide, for its work on beautifying, cleaning up and enhancing the section of the route that passes through the town, as well as signage for natural and heritage resources. In the second category, intended to recognize initiatives and actions promoted by Friends of the Way of St. James associations, the award was given to the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations, which has been working for over 25 years to promote gatherings and congresses, as well as coordinating an ongoing hostel volunteer programme; and the Lugo Friends of the Way of St. James Association, which has done significant work in our community.

In the third category, the awards recognized the Tui company Ideas Peregrinas, which offers a hostel and a pilgrim space; and RedEmprendia for the Spin Way initiative, which involves students from various countries. Lastly, in the fourth category, designed to recognize activities of an academic, research or educational nature, the award was received by the Department of the Way of St. James at the University of Toruń (Poland) and A Merced School in Sarria (Lugo).

Xacobeo 2021, strategic objective

Román Rodríguez emphasized that preparation for the upcoming Xacobeo (Holy Year) is ‘among the government’s strategic objectives and we are already working flat out to get everything in perfect order for this historic event’. The secretary explained that ‘in 2021, the world will again turn its gaze to Compostela and Galicia, and we will be prepared to offer the best of ourselves’.

Rodríguez also noted ‘the importance of the routes of the Way of St. James in building Galicia’. This is recognized by the current Galician Cultural Heritage Act as a unique expression of our cultural heritage, as a group of historic territories with exceptional universal value. Along with the secretary and the director of Turismo de Galicia, the award ceremony was attended by the regional representative of the Xunta in A Coruña, Ovidio Rodeiro, as well as the regional secretaries for Lugo and Pontevedra, Marta Barreiro and Ramón Pereiro.

Shared effort based on dialogue

For her part, Nava Castro underscored that the awards ‘demonstrate that the pilgrimage route is a collective construction, created based on co-existence and dialogue’. She also noted that the awards represent efforts made in working towards the goals set by the Council of Europe in its manifesto on the occasion of this event. ‘We Galicians, as a people, have succeeded in bringing great dedication and enthusiasm to our undertaking of the task entrusted to us by the Council of Europe: to revitalize the entire pilgrimage route in order to rise above differences and interests and build a society based on tolerance, respect, freedom and solidarity,’ stated the Turismo director.

Looking forward to the next Holy Year, she made mention of the work already done as part of the Way of St. James Master and Strategic Plan – passed in 2015 with a budget of 56 million euros – with which the Xunta is meeting ‘the current needs of the pilgrimage’. These needs are associated with its international expansion, with 177 nationalities among the 286,000 pilgrims who have arrived this year.

Meeting with the European Federation

Before the Camino de Santiago Awards ceremony, Nava Castro met with the members of the Technical Committee of the European Federation of the Way of St. James, recently joined by the Principality of Asturias. The meeting, which also included Xacobeo Manager Rafael Sánchez, was held at the International Pilgrim Welcome Centre in Calle Carretas.

Activities in the month of November

The commemorative programme for the 30th anniversary, which this week included six different events over two days, will continue in November with new activities. The European Cultural Routes Conference will be held at the Hotel Management School of Galicia (CSHG) on 6 November. That same week, 9–11 November, the 10th International Congress on Jacobean Studies will take place at the Hostal de los Reis Católicos. Titled Jacobus Patronus, it will feature experts from various countries and be coordinated by the Way of St. James and Pilgrimages Department at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC).

Lastly, 16–18 November will bring the international seminar Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes, promoted by Turismo de Galicia, the World Tourism Organization (OMT) and the European Travel Commission (ETC). This event will be attended by managers from both organizations, as well as members of such important institutions as UNESCO, the European Parliament and Commission, the European Institute of Cultural Routes, the European Tourism Association, Ibertur and the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities.