Etxepare Basque Institute creates three new Basque Studies chairs for 2022-2023

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.



The Etxepare Basque Institute will set up three new Basque Studies chairs in the next academic year: the Elbira Zipitria Chair at McGill University in Quebec, the Alan R. King Chair at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Wales, and the Frank Bidart Chair at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) in the USA. The three chairs reflect some of the lines of work of the Etxepare Basque Institute: building international cultural ties, promoting linguistic research, and supporting the diaspora.

Taking part in the presentation of these new agreements were Bingen Zupiria, Basque Government Minister for Culture and Language Policy; Irene Larraza, Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute; Garbiñe Iztueta, Director for the Promotion and Dissemination of the Basque Language at the Etxepare Basque Institute; and Mari Karmen Mitxelena, Elbira Zipitria´s work colleague and friend, as well as several of Alan R. King´s relatives.

Larraza believes that these new chairs reflect the different areas of the Institute´s work and that, they can make an important contribution in different areas of future research. The Elbira Zipitria Chair, which will be inaugurated at McGill University, has its origins in an agreement signed in Montreal in 2018 and will be presented in the framework of various activities to take place in September as part of the special #SaisonQuebecPaysBasque programme. The signing of the agreement sealed the commitment to deepen Basque studies through social innovation, and now it is time to launch the academic programme.

Larraza pointed out that for the first time Basque sociolinguistics will be studied at an academic level outside the Basque Country at Trinity Saint David´s University in Wales. The chair, which will begin in October, will take the name of the British linguist Alan Roy King, a staunch defender of minority languages. The aim of the programme is to deepen mutual knowledge of the languages and cultures of Wales and the Basque Country.

In response to the proposal made by the local Basque community in 2019, a chair was created to promote Basque culture, art, and innovation in collaboration with California State University, Bakersfield. This is the birthplace of Frank Bidart, one of the most prominent poets in the United States. The programme will be launched in November 2022.

The Basque Government´s Minister of Culture, Bingen Zupiria, highlighted at the presentation the visibility that Basque studies are acquiring in international academia thanks to agreements of this type. The chair programmes will shine a light on Basque culture in Quebec, California, and Wales. "The programmes will now also draw attention to Basque culture in the academic sphere. They will help us to strengthen contact and knowledge with other Basque and international researchers and universities," added Zupiria.

With these three new chairs, the Etxepare Basque Institute now supports a total of 12 chairs in Basque studies at universities in different countries to bolster and raise the profile of Basque language and Basque studies. The chairs are a way to introduce specialised teaching by expert teachers or artists and creators at a university.

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