Spain's Queen Sofia was awarded Saturday the Convivencia (Coexistence) Prize, created by the Manuel Broseta Foundation in memory of the likenamed politician slain by the ETA terrorist group in 1992.

The mayor of the eastern city of Valencia, Rita Barbera, announced the choice made by the jury of 12 in a unanimous decision following preliminary deliberations.

The prize is awarded annually to individuals, organizations or groups whose careers are distinguished by their defense of freedom, justice, coexistence and respect for ideological pluralism and democratic values.

Queen Sofia is "a permanent example of professionalism and dedication, dedication to her work, to the most destitute, and to the values of freedom, coexistence and plurality," said Barbera, who replaced as president of the jury Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who was unable to attend the meeting.

In awarding the prize, the jury considered the queen's "absolute commitment" to the characteristics most valued by the foundation, including her "constant" nearness to, and concern for, society's most vulnerable and needy.

At a global level, it honored her promotion of microlending, which she has tried to spread through Spain and other countries so that people "with few prospects in life can have the means to live and work with dignity," Barbera said.

The head of the Royal Household communicated to the jury the satisfaction with which Queen Sofia received the prize, whose presentation ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 15.

Past winners of this prestigious prize include Cuba's Ladies in White in 2011 and Spain's King Juan Carlos in 2007.

Queen Sofia was chosen from among the 17 candidates nominated for this 21st Manuel Broseta prize. EFE