U.S. activist Bill Drayton, founder and president of social-entrepreneurship organization Ashoka, was named here Wednesday as the recipient of Spain's 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

Twenty-five nominations were whittled down to three finalists: Drayton, former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio and the Organization of Ibero-American States' Educational Goals 2021 program.

Drayton "coined the term 'social entrepreneur' to describe those individuals who combine the pragmatic goal-oriented methods of business with the aims of a social reformer," the jury said after meeting in Oviedo, capital of the northern region of Asturias.

The jury praised Drayton's insight of "applying economic sustainability criteria to projects to promote social change designed by young, creative entrepreneurs."

"Ashoka employs a rigorous selection process to choose these social entrepreneurs through the exhaustive examination of their projects for innovation and change, their potential impact on society and their motivation and ethical character," the jury said.

The International Cooperation honor is the sixth of a total of eight Asturias prizes to be awarded this year, each accompanied by a 50,000-euro (roughly $72,000) cash prize.

Recipients also receive a sculpture by Joan Miro that represents and symbolizes the awards, a diploma and an insignia bearing the foundation's coat of arms.

The winners of the awards in the two remaining categories will be announced between now and early September.

The prizes, which Spain's Crown Prince Felipe will hand out later this year in Oviedo's Campoamor Theater, are regarded as the Ibero-American world's equivalent of the Nobels.