News Lehendakaritza

The Lehendakari identifies the Basques in the U.S.A. as “proof” of the various forms of “living and feeling” the Basque identity

2010 July 26

During his visit to the Center for Basque Studies in the University of Nevada, the Lehendakari has bestowed the Lagun Onari distinction on the Governor of Nevada for the reception afforded to Basque immigrants.

The second day of the official visit of the Lehendakari, Patxi López, to the U.S.A. has centered around the University of Nevada (Reno). Having visited the installations of the Center for Basque Studies, the Lehendakari bestowed the Lagun Onari distinction on the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, Brian Krolicki, for the welcome afforded by the State to the Basques who emigrated to this territory over the course of the last century. The Lehendakari has drawn attention to the fact that this welcome enabled the emigrants to combine "a feeling of belonging to the United States of America whilst maintaining their love of the Basque territories that represent their origins." "We should not sublimate a single Basque identity, but rather each individual must live and feel this identity in their own manner. And you, the Basques of the U.S. are the best proof of the truth of this statement. Capable of feeling both Americans and Basques, capable of merging these cultures, of combining them and of loving them equally," López affirmed.

The Basque Country and the Center for Basque Studies of the University of Nevada have ratified the collaboration agreement between these two institutions to continue to work together in order to disseminate Basque culture and the Basque reality throughout the English-speaking world. The Lehendakari, Patxi López, and the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, Brian Krolicki, have signed this agreement via which the Basque government will provide the Center for Basque Studies with 217,000 "well invested" euros, according to the Lehendakari. "Currently, the institute for Basque studies in Nevada is our showcase for the English-speaking world. Furthermore, it is a meeting point between the North American and Basque academic worlds," he added.

The University of Nevada (Reno) has provided the setting for the signing of this collaboration agreement, an act which, in addition to the Lehendakari, was attended by the Basque Minister for Culture, Blanca Urgell, the General Secretary for Overseas Action, Guillermo Echenique, the founder of the Center for Basque Studies, Bill Douglas, the President of the University in Reno, Milton Glick, and the Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, Brian Krolicki. Prior to the singing of the agreement and the bestowal of the Lagun Onari distinction on the State of Nevada, the delegation of the Basque Government visited the University in Reno.

The act of signing the agreement also served to enable the bestowal of the Lagun Onari distinction on the State of Nevada, for the welcome afforded to the thousands of Basques who emigrated to this territory. Indeed, the Lehendakari specifically addressed the Basques residents of the State of Nevada, encouraging them to continue "to feel proud of who they were and what they were." "We should not sublimate a single Basque identity, but rather each individual must live and feel this identity in their own manner. And you, the Basques of the U.S. are the best proof of the truth of this statement. Capable of feeling both Americans and Basques, capable of merging these cultures, of combining them and of loving them equally," affirmed the Lehendakari, who feels that Basque society is enriched by those who conserve "these roots you feel within you without rejecting another culture and another society."

The Lehendakari thanked the Center for Basque Studies for its "vitally important" efforts in spreading Basque culture throughout the world. "You are true ambassadors of our small country in this country, whose dimensions cannot fail to impress the recently arrived visitor," López stated, directly thanking Basques such as Bill Douglas, Robert Laxalt and Jon Bilbao who set up and developed the Basque Studies Syllabus.
Nevada boasts 6000 individuals with Basque origins, ranking third behind California and Idaho in terms of the number of Basques, and houses the Center for Basque Studies, which produces 95% of the content relating to the Basque Country and its culture in English. "As a result of this success, today we bring another small piece of the Basque Country here, but we would also like to take back a piece of the Basque North America that defines you," he added.

 

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Politicians attending the event
(IX term 2009 - 2012)
Other guests
  • Lehendakari