— Pablo Casals Catalan cellist and conductor 1876 - 1973
Context: This is the greatest honour I have ever received in my life. Peace has always been my greatest concern. Yet in my childhood I learned to love it. My mother—an exceptional, brilliant woman — used to speak to me about it when I was still a child, because in those years there were also a lot of wars. What is more, I am a Catalan. Today, a province of Spain. But what has been Catalonia? Catalonia has been the greatest nation in the world. I will tell you why. Catalonia has had the first parliament, much before England. Catalonia had the first United Nations. All the authorities of Catalonia in the Eleventh Century met in a city of France, at that time Catalonia, to speak about peace, at the Eleventh Century. Peace in the world and against, against, against war, the inhumanity of the wars. So I am so happy, so happy, to be with you today. That is why the United Nations, which works solely towards the peace ideal, is in my heart, because anything to do with peace goes straight to my heart.