Once again, the William A. Douglass Chair in Basque Cultural Studies, made possible by the Etxepare Basque Institute, is underway at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA). This year the guest lecturer is Juan Jose Ibarretxe, former President of the Basque Autonomous Community and Director of the Agirre Lehendakaria Center of Social and Political Studies (ALC). Ibarretxe will be accompanied by Amaia Aguirre and Gorka Espiau, members of the ALC research team.
The lecture, titled “How to Change a Country”, will be delivered on 17 April at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and will address the evolution of the Basque Country over the past three decades.
In the early 1980s, the Basque region was beset by conflict and its economy was in ruins. Three decades later, it is at peace and second only to Luxembourg in Europe’s prosperity index. From the opening of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, to the eve of the separatist group ETA’s lasting ceasefire, Ibarretxe will explore what lessons other countries can learn from the Basque region’s rebirth. The seminar is geared toward undergraduate and post-grad students and is free and open to the public.
A round-table event held the following day for the university community will discuss the latest research projects by the ALC. Ibarretxe will be joined by ALC members Amaia Agirre and Gorka Espiau.
The William A. Douglass Chair in Basque Cultural Studies was launched in 2016 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to promote studies on Basque anthropology. The chair is named after researcher and professor William A. Douglass, specialist in Basque anthropology, and director for over 30 years of the Basque Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Reno (now called the Center for Basque Studies). Professor Douglass himself will deliver the opening address.
Also participating in the event will be Garbiñe Iztueta, Director for the Promotion of the Basque Culture, Etxepare Basque Institute; Jaqueline Urla, University of Massachusetts Anthropology Department Chair; and Kalpen Trivedi, executive director of the International Programs Office.
The seminar and round-table will complete this year’s Chair in Basque Cultural Studies, which in February focused on Bertsolaritza (improvised sung verse) and gender in a largely male art form with guest lecturers Maialen Lujanbio and Miren Artetxe.
The Etxepare Basque Institute sponsors eight chairs in universities around the world to promote specialized programs in Basque studies (mainly post-graduate programs) and academic research.