Pantxoa ETCHEGOIN in the United States

Sep 08, 2005

The director of the Basque Cultural Institute was in the United States from 20 July to 1 August 2005. The aim of his trip was for the first time to meet representatives of the Basque diaspora and to strengthen cultural relations between the Basque Country and the Basque community in America.

Pantxoa ETCHEGOIN in the United States

On this occasion, he visited San Francisco, and more specifically its very important "Basque Cultural Center".

A working meeting took place under the chairmanship of Xabier Berrueta and other directors like Frantxua Bidaurreta, Philippe Acheritogaray and Nicole Sorhondo.

They agreed to regularly propose Basque artists (singers, musicians, writers, etc.) who could perform at two or three different venues in the United States and to improve exchanges of cultural information, mainly via the internet.

Pantxoa ETCHEGOIN then visited the University of Reno in Nevada which is home to an important Centre for Basque Studies and a library (90 000 research and Basque cultural works), directed by the anthropologist Joseba Zulaika.

Finally, he took part in the popular festival "Jaialdi 2005", lasting four days in Boise (Idaho) and with more than 30 000 participants from the Basque diaspora in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Australia and elsewhere. On this occasion, a wide range of entertainment was organised: dancing, Basque sports, singing and music, stands presenting Basque products, etc.

The Director of the BCI also gave a conference in Basque, with simultaneous translation into English, organised by the University of Boise on "The Situation of Basque Culture in the Northern Basque Country".

He also met representatives of the Basque Museum in Boise which is host amongst other things to an exhibition on Basque emigration.

"It was both a very rich and moving journey. The Basque Country is also present in the United States", said Pantxoa Etchegoin, adding that the Basques of America, despite the distance, have the Basque Country in their hearts every day.

Already, further to this trip proposals for specific projects have been made which will enable the diaspora which is so attached to the homeland to experience contemporary Basque Culture.


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