The European Academy of Yuste Foundation has announced the decision of the jury for the tenth Carlos V European Award, which has been won by Italian professor Sofia Corradi, known as “Mamma Erasmus” for being the driving force behind the most important international exchange program for young students in Europe.

With this award, the jury wishes to recognize “her career and, above all, her great commitment and contribution to the process of European integration by means of the design and implementation of the ERASMUS initiative of the European Union, as well as her work and endeavour on behalf of academic mobility, focussing on young European students as a guarantee of tomorrow and the future of Europe”.

Isabel Gil Rosiña, spokesperson of the Government of Extremadura and a member of the Board of Trustees of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation, announced the jury’s decision on behalf of Guillermo Fernández Vara, Chairman of the Award Jury, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation and President of the Government of Extremadura. With this award for Sofia Corradi and, therefore, her work and the Erasmus program, the aim of the jury and the European Academy of Yuste Foundation is to convey a clear message to the general public, expressing commitment to what unites us, not what separates us, even though many are now attempting to squander this process, without perceiving the importance of the preservation of Europe’s great achievements and its main values as the cornerstone of our success and our common future. The Erasmus program, the Schengen agreement and the Euro are the great achievements and sources of pride of the EU, which States, institutions, civil society and the general public should continue to support.

The results of the work initiated by Sofia Corradi for the benefit of the European integration process have established the foundations for other successful educational initiatives of a similar nature which reach beyond Europe’s borders, such as Erasmus Mundus, as well as Erasmus Plus, the European Union’s current program. Through her work, the Erasmus program has directly changed the lives of almost 3.5 million European students from around 4,000 universities throughout its period of operation, lasting nearly 30 years (the program was created in 1987). It has also benefited the teaching staff and, more indirectly, the environment where the students have led their lives, promoting highly positive changes in European academic, social, cultural, educational and economic life since its creation.

The award has gone to a woman, an academic who has changed the way of viewing Europe and living in the European Union. It has been given to one of the major European projects encouraging co-existence, diversity, understanding, cooperation, European values and, more importantly, helping us to eliminate the mental barriers, the stereotypes, which are the main obstacle to progress and the peaceful co-existence of Europeans and those who inhabit our continent.

Sofia Corradi thus becomes the tenth person, and the second woman, to receive the Carlos V European Award, which continues to lend commitment and importance to the positive changes which can be brought about by people and, upon the basis of this award, projects and institutions, with great ideas and the initiative, determination and will to carry them out.

After being informed of the jury’s decision, Sofia Corradi expressed her “gratitude and a feeling of honour at being considered for a distinction as prestigious as the Carlos V European Award”. She declared that she was “particularly pleased that the award has been made by an institution from Spain, a country with a great European spirit, as well as strong links with Latin America”. In reference to the name of the award and the figure of Carlos V, on whose empire it was said that the sun never set, she stated that her “dream is that, in a more peaceful world like that which we seek to build today, Erasmus will become a global project, in which the sun will never set either”.

The 10th Carlos V European Award

It should be pointed out that this is the 10th Carlos V European Award, following the recent twentieth anniversary of the presentation of the first award to Jacques Delors, the former President of the European Commission, in 1995. There have been, therefore, ten awards, which demonstrates that the Carlos V European Award has a well-established and proven track record, confirming Extremadura’s commitment to the process of European integration and the values it promotes and highlighting the importance of initiatives such as this one, born from civil society, on behalf of the unity and cooperation of the peoples of Europe. The recipients of the award until now have been Jacques Delors (1995), Wilfried Martens (1998), Felipe González (2000), Mikhail Gorbachev (2002), Jorge Sampaio (2004), Helmut Kohl (2006), Simone Veil (2008), Javier Solana (2010) and José Manuel Durao Barroso (2013).

Following the announcement of the award a total of twenty nominations were submitted by institutions from seven countries in the European Union, with a total number of seventeen candidatures being selected for the 10th Carlos V European Award.