Coppieters Awards 2016 to Honour Alex Salmond

Events / 14.12.16

On 14th of December 2016, Centre Maurits Coppieters will honor Mr Alex Salmond (former First Minister of Scotland and current Scottish National Party Member of Parliament and International Affairs Spokesperson) as the first recipient of the Coppieters Awards at an official award ceremony in Brussels.

With this award, Coppieters foundation will recognize Mr Salmond’s dedication and advocacy for Scotland’s right to redefine its political future among a European family of nations. His contribution to advancing Scotland’s democratic case for devolution and independence has re-energised the people of Scotland, Europe and beyond.

He embodies a respect for cultural diversity, peace, democracy, cooperation and a united Europe, just like Maurits Coppieters himself. Through his leadership, he has helped transform Scotland into a fair, open and democratic society.


18:30 Opening of the ceremony

– Introduction and moderation by EU Observer Editor-in-chief Eric Maurice

– Daniel Turp, Professor of international and constitutional law, on behalf of the Jury and Advisory Scientific Council of Centre Maurits Coppieters

– Marta Rovira, Member of Catalan Parliament, Secretary General of Esquerra party, Deputy leader of JxSi coalition, on behalf of European Free Alliance

– Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Member of Parliament for the Scottish National Party, on behalf of the Scottish National Party

– Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy and Architectural Heritage

– Xabier Macias, President of Centre Maurits Coppieters on behalf of the foundation

– Acceptance speech by Alex Salmond, Award recipient

What are Coppieters awards?

The Coppieters Awards are an initiative of the Centre Maurits Coppieters to honour individuals and organizations that, like Maurits Coppieters himself used to, stand out in defence of cultural and linguistic diversity, inter-cultural dialogue, self-determination, rights of minorities, peace, democracy and a united Europe. The main objective of the Coppieters Awards is to give recognition to persons and organizations that have successfully managed to find innovative ways to advocate for and embody these values.

Who is Alex Salmond?

Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond, better known as Alex, was born in Linlithgow in 1954. He attended Linlithgow Academy and studied at St Andrew’s University, where he graduated with a joint honours MA in Economics and History.

His professional life began at the Government Economic Service as an Assistant Economist in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. In 1980, he embarked on a seven year career with the Royal Bank of Scotland as an Assistant Economist before being appointed as an Oil Economist in 1982. He entered front line politics in 1987 with his election as MP for Banff & Buchan in Aberdeenshire. In 1990, he was elected as National Convenor of the Scottish National Party and served as leader of the opposition in the Scottish Parliament after successfully standing as MSP for Banff & Buchan in 1999. In 2000, he stood down as leader of the SNP. He continued to serve his constituents as an MP for Banff and Buchan and as an MSP until he stood down from the Scottish Parliament in 2001. He was successfully re-elected as leader of the SNP in 2004 and elected as MSP for Gordon in May 2007.

He made political history by becoming the first nationalist to be elected First Minister of Scotland on 16 May 2007, and remained in the post until November 2014. It was during this time that he led the Yes campaign in the Scottish independence referendum, where 45% of Scottish people voted for the country to be separated from the United Kingdom. His memoirs, titled: ‘The Dream Shall Never Die’, depicted the social and political landscape in Scotland throughout the campaign. It was first published in 2015, and has since been published in Scots Gaelic and Basque. In May 2015, he was elected as MP for Gordon as one of the famous SNP 56, who dramatically changed the make-up of the House of Commons in the wake of the Scottish National Party’s general election landslide. He currently serves as the SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Westminster, and continues to promote Scotland on the world stage and forging new relationships between Scotland and the global community. He is also a board member of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

He and his wife Moira married in 1981 and live in Strichen, Aberdeenshire. When not working he enjoys horse racing, football – supporting Scotland and Heart of Midlothian FC – golf and reading.

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When: Wednesday 14th of December 2016, from 18:00 to 20:00
Where: L42 – Rue de la Loi 42 Wetstraat, 1040 Brussels

Get involved:

This event is invitation-only. Share your views about the event on our Facebook event page or tweet with the hashtag #Coppietersawards2016


Media inquiries can be addressed to

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This Award and the Centre Maurits Coppieters is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the conference nor the opinions of the speakers at the awards ceremony.