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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. Moreover, I am Catalan. Catalonia had the first democratic Parliament much before than England. And it was in my country where there was a beginning of united nations. At that time - the eleventh Century - they met in Toluges - today in France - to speak about peace, because the Catalonian people of that time were already against war. That is why, the United Nations, which work only for the ideal of peace, are in my hearth, because everything relating to peace goes directly there. I have not played the cello in front of an audience since long years but I think I must do it this time. I am going to play a melody from the Catalonian folklore: The singing of the Birds. Birds, when in the sky, go singing: Peace, peace, peace. And this is a melody that Bach, Beethoven and all great people would have admired and loved. And, in addition, it springs up from the soul of my country: Catalonia.
-Pau (Pablo) Casals, Before the United Nations Assembly accepting the Medal of Peace