Basque journalist Mikel Ayestaran received the 2019 Ignacio Ellacuria Prize for cooperation

14 February 2019

The Basque Government has awarded the Ignacio Ellacuria Prize for Cooperation 2019 to Mikel Ayestaran, a Basque journalist who has excelled, above all, in covering areas in conflict. The Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu has been in charge of delivering this award.

On this occasion, the jury wanted to recognize the “human look” of this journalist when telling stories, their “respect” for the facts covered and the “responsibility” to bring and make comprehensible realities often difficult to understand. His candidacy was proposed by the Save the Children Foundation.

In his speech, the President of the Basque governments (Lehendakari) thanked Mikel Ayestaran for his rigor as a journalist. “We appreciate that you develop your professional work with humility and focused on what is important: to be the channel of the message,” he underlined. In this regard, he stressed that, thanks to the work of Ayestaran, society has the opportunity to better understand the forgotten, loser, bombed, victims, refugees or migrants. “Mikel Ayestaran has proven to be an activist for solidarity and cooperation; is more than a journalist, is a “cooperating journalist” “, has nuanced.

The Lehendakari recalled that the Basque Government assumes in its entirety the “coherence of policies”: the approach of Human Rights, the model of Sustainable Human Development and the commitments of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations. “We advocate for a society of values, commitment and solidarity,” he added.

“For all this, the awarding of this Award embodies all its original meaning, that is, highlight references of life and commitment that help us to promote a better world, a path of hope and solidarity for a more human world,” he concluded.

The ceremony held this morning in the President’s office (Lehendakaritza) was attended by a broad representation of the Basque Government, among others, the Minister of Public Governance and Self-Government and Government Spokesperson, Josu Erkoreka, the Minister of Employment and Social Policies, Beatriz Artolazabal, the Minister of Health, Jon Darpón, the Minister of Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria, the Security Counselor, Estefanía Beltrán de Heredia, and the Minister of Labor and Justice, María Jesús San José. As well as, the Secretary General of Human Rights, Coexistence and Cooperation, Jonan Fernández, and the Director of the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation, Paul Ortega. Representatives of the Save the Children Foundation have also attended the event.

Mikel Ayestaran

Mikel Ayestaran (Beasain, 1975) is a freelance journalist who collaborates permanently with the EiTB and Vocento groups. From a young age he combined his studies with his passion for traveling. In 2005, he began his adventure as a freelancer, dedicating himself to open conflicts in the Middle East. His baptism of fire was in 2006 during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, also dedicated to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has traveled to Israel and the Palestinian Territories to cover three Israeli offensives against the Gaza Strip between 2008 and 2014. In 2011, with the arrival of the “Arab Spring”, he traveled through Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria. Since 2015 he has resided in Jerusalem, from where he continues to cover the entire region.

Ignacio Ellacuria Award

The Ignacio Ellacuria Award for cooperation is awarded by the Basque Government, through the Basque Cooperation Agency-Elankidetza, and aims to recognize the contribution of organizations, groups and individuals, from within and outside Euskadi, in the struggle to favor equality and justice among peoples and for the overcoming of poverty, as well as give their due diffusion, contributing to the awareness of Basque society.

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