Balearic leader Francesc Antich yesterday called for a model of growth “which defends our character and way of life.” He was speaking at the presentation of the community's gold medals at the conservatory yesterday, part of the Balearic Islands Day celebrations marking the 19th anniversary of the Statutes. Antich called for “intense, slow and continued action to recover our historical, cultural and linguistic personality” and invited institutions to take up these challenges. He said that if occasional differences were allowed to become systematic confrontations, they would be performing a poor service for the community, adding that “without dialogue, we will not have the capacity to forge the strong country which we all want.” Antich praised Mayors and town councillors for their “silent“ and “never ending work at the service of society.” The Balearic leader then presented the community's gold medals to the Bishop of Majorca, Mgr Teodoro Ubeda, praising his ecumenical work; the Obra Cultural Balear (OCB), for promoting the local language and culture; the Círculo Artístico of Ciutadella (Minorca), founded in 1881 to facilitate leisure and culture, and GOB, for its work in defence of nature and the environment. He then went on to present the Ramon Llull prizes, whose recipients included American scholar Anthony Bonner, a world expert on the work of Ramon Llull, and Joan Riudavets of Minorca who, at 112, is one of the oldest people in the world. Other recipients were the Confederation of Neighbourhood Associations; the Balearic Cerebral Palsy Association (ASPACE); Josep Campaner, promoter of the Campaner Foundation; Encarnación Viñas, 81, for her work in the field of education and culture; scientist Antoni Roig Muntaner, writers the late Gabriel Galmes, Carme Riera, Bartomeu Bennassar and Bartomeu Melia; the late artist Pere Quetglas “Xam”, the University Choir, the Ibizan group UC and veteran Majorcan singer Antonia Buades.

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