2023 Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Basque President Iñigo Urkullu presided over the meeting of the Etxepare Basque Institute Board of Trustees this morning held at the office of the Basque Government. Also in attendance were Bingen Zupiria, Minister for Culture and Language Policy and Spokesperson for the Basque Government, and Etxepare Basque Institute Director, Irene Larraza.  Larraza reported on the activities undertaken in the past year and the main lines of action for the coming months.  

After welcome remarks by Urkullu, the minutes from the previous meeting were read. Larraza then presented the 2022 annual accounts and management report to the Trustees, along with the activities slated for the second half of 2023. 

In 2022, the Etxepare Basque Institute promoted more than 200 activities worldwide. Mobility grants were awarded to 271 recipients, and 17 books were translated into other languages with the help of the Institute. 

Larraza highlighted the three new in Basque studies chairs launched in 2022. The first at the University of Trinity St. David in Wales, which promotes sociolinguistic research; another at McGill University in Montreal, which combines Basque studies and cultural innovation; and the third at California State University, Bakersfield, which promotes research and creative projects. 

At the meeting held in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Larraza placed special emphasis on the ZABAL programme, aimed at promoting contemporary Basque creation internationally and strengthening ties between the Basque and international art communities. Throughout 2022, the curators of the Istanbul, Sao Paulo and Shanghai biennials had the opportunity to directly experience and familiarize themselves with the artistic creations from the Basque region. Achievements of this programme include June Crespo´s inclusion in the 59th Venice Biennale and the active participation of Consonni publishing house in Documenta Fifteen held in Kassel.  

Larraza also referred to the Etxepare Basque Institute’s ‘Cultural Connections’, a line of work that seeks to strengthen ties and build lasting relationships with regions strategic to the Basque Country through culture and creation. 

She gave a detailed explanation of the Saison Québec-Pays Basque programme, which culminated last autumn in Montreal. Throughout the year, a total of 22 ‘Basque windows’ were created at festivals, venues and in cultural centres in Quebec.  

The exchange and collaboration project between the Basque Country and Flanders was next in line. The outcome of two meetings in 2021 and 2022 is Vlaanderen - Baskenland, a bilateral programme with 11 projects underway in 2023. 

Larraza also explained the programme being developed in the Basque Country and Japan in 2023. Since the beginning of the year, activities have been launched to promote Basque culture and creation in all its disciplines in Japan and to showcase Japanese culture in the Basque Country. 

The three territories mentioned (Quebec, Flanders and Japan) are priority partners in the internationalisation strategy of the Basque Country. 

Finally, among the short-term challenges, Larraza pointed out the need to generate a system for measuring the impact of the programmes and activities promoted by the Institute. The system will be undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Culture and the cultural sectors. In addition, she presented her work on facilitating collaboration between the Basque Country´s international delegations, highlighting her efforts to encourage productive partnerships. Lastly, Larraza emphasized the advancements achieved in the journey towards digital transformation, particularly in project management, communication, and e-learning. 

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