The Basque President, Iñigo Urkullu, received a delegation from Quebec this morning in the Office of the President. The delegation is visiting Euskadi to take part in meetings for professionals of cultural organizations held in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Donostia / San Sebastián and Bilbao until Friday. Representatives of 19 entities from the linguistic, cultural and creative sectors will join more than 60 Basque representatives in this initiative.
The aim is to strengthen cultural ties between Quebec and Euskadi, and to take the first steps towards organizing a Basque cultural season in Quebec in 2020. The meeting is part of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding between Quebec and Euskadi). Culture is one of the areas of collaboration included in the agreement signed in 2017 between the Basque President and the Prime Minister of Quebec, along with the environment, economic development and innovation. Joining the Basque President in the reception today were Basque Minister for Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria, General Secretary for External Action, Marian Elorza, and Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, Irene Larraza.
Etxepare Basque Institute has organized a meeting between cultural stakeholders from Quebec and Euskadi that will last until Friday. The goal of the encounter is to enhance mutual knowledge between the two countries, promote cultural exchange, encourage creative projects on both parts, exchange experiences and knowledge, and create cultural showcases. Some twenty Quebecois and sixty Basque representatives from the performing arts, film and audiovisual sector, literature, music, art and language will participate in the meetings held in in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Donostia / San Sebastián and Bilbao.
The agenda of this three-day meeting is diverse and complete. Today, after the Basque President’s welcome, representatives of the Etxepare Basque Institute and the Basque Government explained the cooperation agreement between Quebec and Euskadi. The three-day programme will include bilateral meetings between Basque and Quebecois cultural representatives, organized into subsectors, with visits to relevant cultural spaces in the three cities, such as the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao, the Cathedral of Santa María in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the Albaola Sea Factory in Pasaia and Tabakalera in Donostia / San Sebastián.
One of the outcomes of cooperation between the two countries is the Quebec-Euskadi 2020-2021 project. This project is aimed at promoting cooperation between cultural representatives from Quebec and Euskadi and the relationships between the artists, creative talent and cultural industries. Promoted by Etxepare Basque Institute and the Ministry of Culture and Communication of Quebec, in 2020 a Basque cultural season will be held in Quebec. The project will travel in both directions. In 2021 the same initiative will take place with Quebecois artists in Euskadi. The professional cultural meeting that began today is the first milestone in this project. In this way, Quebec will take the baton from Scotland, where this year Basque creative talent is enjoying an excellent opportunity of spreading Basque culture beyond our borders through the ´Scotland goes Basque´ project.
The relationship between the two territories will bear more fruit in the coming years. Among them is the agreement signed between Etxepare Basque Institute and McGill University in Montreal to establish a new Basque Studies Chair, which will begin in the 2019-2020 academic year.