Dona Antónia Awards: Maria João Avillez and Maria do Carmo Teixeira Bastos are the 2021 Winners
Maria João Avillez, one of the greatest references of national political journalism is the winner of the Consecration Award and Maria do Carmo Teixeira Bastos was distinguished with the Revelation Award, for her contribution as co-founder and president of Young Parkies Portugal, the Portuguese Early Parkinson's Association.
Since its creation in 1988, the Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira Awards have aimed to distinguish and honour Portuguese women with an exceptional life path, who stand out for their human qualities, entrepreneurial spirit, leadership ability and social sensitivity, openness to innovation and constant search for their own development.
The jury, autonomous and chaired by Artur Santos Silva, annually awards the Career Consecration Prize, which pays tribute to a consolidated life path deserving unequivocal public recognition, and a Revelation Prize, which seeks to honour an important career in a phase of affirmation and development. All the winners are protagonists of a unique and different story, following the example of the life and work of Dona Antónia and identifying with the personal and professional values embodied by the same. A unique character in the history of the Douro, entrepreneurial and with a strong humanist character, Dona Antónia decisively inspired the development of the great Port wine house, Porto Ferreira, and of all Douro viticulture, contributing to the economic, social and cultural development of our country.
"It is with great responsibility and sense of mission that Sogrape promotes, year after year, this award as part of its social responsibility plan. By distinguishing outstanding women who, due to their human characteristics and professional skills, have left a positive mark on our communities and on our country,Sogrape is not only justly recognising the commitment and work carried out by them but also, and above all, promoting role models that may inspire more young women to undertake and contribute towards a better world", says Raquel Seabra, Board Member of Sogrape.
Meet the winners
Maria João Avillez has dedicated her career to journalism, being recognised as the "chronicler of Portuguese politics", as she is the woman who wrote the most iconic books of the last 50 years in the area of politics, with a special focus on the political protagonists of the post-April 25 period. She has always stood out for her power of observation and taste for storytelling and "face-to-face" journalism, gifted with an endless curiosity.
At the age of 17 she started in the media as an announcer for the Juvenile Programme on Radiotelevisão Portuguesa, with João Lobo Antunes, Júlio Isidro and Lídia Franco. She began to build her career at Rádio Renascença, TSF, RTP, Público, Diário de Notícias and Expresso, where she signed hundreds of weekly radio and television programmes, and made a name for herself at the weekly newspaper owned by Francisco Pinto Balsemão and Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. In 1981 he won the EFE Award, among 350 candidates, for the Best Reportage of the Year, with the piece "Sá Carneiro - the Last Portrait". At SIC Notícias, where she has worked since its foundation, she led the programme Conversa Afiada, between 2001 and 2003, where she received singular personalities from Portuguese society, including politicians, journalists, writers and artists, having later embraced the project Outras Conversas, dedicated to political interviews. More recently she has been a political commentator on TVI24 and a columnist for Sábado magazine, Rádio Clube Português and Observador since 2014. It was precisely in this year that she was also decorated as a Grand Officer of the Order of Infante D. Henrique.
Among the books she wrote and that remain immortalised are Entre Palavras, in 1984, four books dedicated to Mário Soares, including an authorised biography - Soares - o Presidente, in 1996, and also Conversas com Álvaro Cunhal, in 2004. This is the second time that the Dona Antónia Awards highlight one of the most outstanding personalities in the media, after the recognition of Teresa de Sousa in 2014, at the 26th edition.
Maria do Carmo Teixeira Bastos is co-founder and president of Young Parkies Portugal, the Portuguese Early Parkinson's Association, founded in 2021 and presented to the public in January 2022. Led by herself, this association's main objectives are to inform, integrate and accompany all people with Parkinson's, young or early, and also those indirectly affected by the disease, promoting cooperation between all: patients, carers, doctors, researchers, therapists, psychologists and society in general.
It was at the age of 43, when she received her diagnosis, that she felt first-hand the lack of information and answers in a generalised way. This is where her path begins, from the need and desire to join forces, thus creating a structured project capable of mitigating the impact that the diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease can have on all those who unexpectedly come across it. Tirelessly, through the Association, she continues to create a set of support networks involving patients, carers, doctors, therapists, researchers and institutions in raising awareness of this disease.