Message from the President
In 1966, when asked by a journalist about his degree of satisfaction with the foundation he has just established, Pedro Barrié de la Maza answered — prudently, in my opinion — that it was too early to tell.
Fifty years have passed since then. Fifty years during which I sincerely believe we have succeeded in firmly establishing ourselves in this country, and during which the foundation has remained faithful to our founder’s wishes. In order to ensure this, it has been our responsibility to adapt our available tools to the times in which we live and to the needs of a society that is complex and in constant flux.
But the passing of the years is only one way of measuring this period. I would also like to point out that in the area of Heritage and Culture that have been 4 million program participants, 2,000 activities, 166 exhibitions, 508 publications and nearly half a million books donated to our libraries; in the area of Social Action there have been 392 participating organizations and thousands of direct beneficiaries; our Science area has provided support to more than 50 scientific institutions, projects and training programs, in many cases from their inception; and our Education area has awarded 15,342 grants. These figures are eloquent in themselves, although in fact nothing can be reduced to statistics, separated from the real people they represent.
Among last year’s activities, I would like to make special mention of our hosting of the 6th l General Convention of the Spanish Foundation Association. At the convention we were able to share ideas about the future and thoughts about the current panorama. But what is no less important is that it offered us a new opportunity to reflect on who we are and on the position that we should occupy, activating already existing possibilities, creating new talent, and gladly offering center stage to the society in which we believe.
We have good reason to be proud of our accomplishments, fulfilling the values of Pedro Barrié and his faithful successor, Carmela Arias. Returning to the question that our founder was asked, and looking back at the 50 years that have passed since then, I now begin to grasp the depth of his response; it was not only an example of his prudence, but also helped shape the nature of the foundation itself, which has never lost its unconventional spirit, and which has always kept its sights on the future, yet without ever losing its sense of its origins.
José María Arias Mosquera
President, Barrié Foundation