Vinton Cerf, widely regarded as one of the fathers of the internet, has won the 30th Catalan International Prize. The Catalan government awarded the vice president of Google for “his contribution both from a technological and a cultural point of view to the development of the internet as a basic infrastructure for society while making sure it is an open network for everyone.”

He is the first technologist to receive this prize, with other awarded figures including the philosopher Karl Popper, the oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the politician Václav Havel, the writer Doris Lessing, and the activist Malala Yousafzai.

Cerf will receive the award in a ceremony on March 25 at 7pm in Barcelona. He was chosen out of 109 bids coming from some 50 countries.

Cerf authorised the .cat domain

During the event to announce the recipient of the prize, a jury member praised that Cerf was the chairman of the board of directors when the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved the top-level domain ending .cat, used for websites in Catalan.

“Despite all kinds of pressure, as you can imagine, he acted with total impartiality” said jury member Manel Sanromà.  “Apart from being a world-renowned dignitary, it is also due to a historic debt that those who love the language and the country, now award him with this Catalonia International Prize”, he added.