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Camino Real Award

The Camino Real Award was introduced in 2012, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute (1987), to recognize the professional work of Spaniards who prominently and exemplary project and enhance the positive image of Spain in the United States.

“The Award reflects the spirit of recognizing a universal Spaniard who has built bridges of understanding between Spain and the United States of America.” (Julio Cañero, Director of the Instituto Franklin-UAH)


“A powerful path for cultural integration, which has been traveled so many times in the past and in the present, by millions of people who speak Spanish.” (Fernando Galván, President of the Universidad de Alcalá, 2013)

Mapa Camino Real

The name Camino Real refers to the pathways used by Spaniards to reach the territories that are now part of the United States. The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of Hinterland) connected along 2,500 km the city of Mexico and Santa Fe, in New Mexico, and the Camino Real of California (originally the Anza route) connected the missions established by the Franciscan Fathers in the Lower and Upper California 1,000 km along the coast.

From its beginnings in the fifteenth century until the early nineteenth century, the California road connected 21 missions and was renamed El Camino Real.

If European culture came to Spain through the Camino de Santiago, the Spanish culture reached the USA through the Camino Real. In 2010, UNESCO declared it World Heritage Site.

“The bell was the great symbol of having reached a safe harbor … Symbol of the Instituto Franklin-UAH… Symbol and reminder of the Spanish presence in the USA.” (Antonio Vázquez, member of the Advisory Board of the Instituto Franklin-UAH, 2012)


In the late nineteenth century, when California was already a state of the Union, some of the paths of the Camino Real were marked with bells. The mast used for its placement simulated the crook used by the founding Franciscan Fathers. At present, there are 450 bells placed along the historic Camino Real in California.

The bell that is given to the award-winner is a recognition and tribute to this symbol steeped in history. The sculpture of the bell is designed by the Navarran sculptor Carlos Ciriza.

“This award represents a good model for promoting what it means and has meant to our country in many other places around the world.” (H.R.H. Prince of Asturias, 2013)


The Camino Real Award was established in 2012 coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Instituto Franklin-UAH (1987), and as current claim and recognition of the historical Spanish presence in the United States since the arrival of Ponce de Leon to Florida in 1513.

Those who receive this award are currently broadcasting the Spanish values and culture in the American area.

“It is an act of friendship and union between two great countries, the United States and Spain.” (José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Instituto Franklin-UAH 2013)

Antonio Banderas (2017)

Antonio Banderas​​​​​​​

  • Spanish actor, director, scriptwriter and producer.
  • A highly distinguished Spanish figure within the artistic American framework.
  • A referent of the Spanish values, conserving the Spanish legacy with fervor and remaining faithful to his roots.


Pau Gasol (2015)

“With proximity, my way of being and behaving in and out of the court, I try to convey the Spain brand.”

Pau Gasol

  • Internationally renown Spanish Basketball Player. Now part of the US Chicago Bulls team.
  • Standard-bearer for a whole generation of Spanish athletes with international outreach and experience, with particular impact in the United States.
  • A benchmark of the spirit of excellence, leadership, teamwork, and social involvement in humanitarian actions.


Dr. Fuster (2013)

“I feel like a deep partaker in the significance of this recognition.”

Dr. Fuster

  • Spanish Cardiologist who has promoted the best image of Spain in the United States for decades.
  • Driver of development in the field of science and research, he is the only Cardiologist who has been recognized by the most important cardiology associations.
  • Leader in the world of medicine, model and example of perseverance, effort, hard work, dedication and service to others.


Plácido Domingo (2012)

“I hope to be a worthy first link in this chain.”

Plácido Domingo

  • Recognized as one of the most important Tenors and Opera Directors of all times.
  • Universal Spaniard who has helped strengthen relations between Spain and America and contributed to the promotion of culture, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Remarkable person who through his social and philanthropic commitment to the disadvantaged has won numerous awards.

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