European Citizen's Prize awarded to Professor Richard Demarco CBE
At a ceremony at the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh on 19th August, Professor Richard Demarco CBE was presented with the 2013 European Citizen's Medal by Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson.
The European Citizen's Medal is awarded for 'outstanding commitment to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens of the Member States', which Professor Demarco exemplified in his incredible advocacy for the arts and the Edinburgh Festival.
Accepting the medal, Prof Demarco said: "The great culture that binds us together as Europeans is also the culture of the world. There is no Polish art, or Scottish art, or English art, or Italian art. There is only art." His perspective truly embodies the spirit of the Medal, and its recognition of "long-term, cross-border or transnational cultural cooperation contributing to the strengthening of a European spirit".
Prof Demarco, who was born in Edinburgh in 1930, recalled the origins of the Festival, which had aspired "to use the language of art to define a re-awakening, a period of forgiveness and reconciliation." He said Edinburgh needed to tell the story and the history of the Edinburgh Festival and of the people who had made it happen.
Struan Stevenson said: "There could be no more appropriate recipient of the Citizen's Prize than Richard Demarco". This sentiment echoed his nomination of Demarco for the Medal, which recognised Demarco as having "spent his life embodying the concept and values of Europe through contemporary visual arts and theatre".
Prof Demarco's tireless work towards the Richard Demarco Gallery, the Demarco European Art Foundation and his professorship at Kingston University will continue to be celebrated in October. He will travel to Brussels as a guest of the President of the European Parliament for a formal investiture ceremony for laureates of the European Citizen's Prize.