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University welcomes Basque president, Nevada dignitaries to honorary event


Center for Basque Studies hosts Patxi Lόpez Álvarez, “lehendakari” or president of the autonomous Basque Government, July 26

RENO, Nev. – Nevada is a state rich in Basque heritage and the University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for Basque Studies plays an integral role in cultivating this unique culture. The contributions of the state and the center toward preserving, researching and celebrating the Basque culture will be acknowledged in a special ceremony and award presentation by the top official of the country’s autonomous government, Patxi Lόpez Álvarez, at 10 a.m., Monday, July 26 in the University’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center’s Wells Fargo Auditorium.

The Lagun Onari prize, considered the most important and prestigious award granted by the autonomous Basque Government, will be presented to the State of Nevada. It recognizes non-Basque individuals or entities that have significantly promoted the Basque Country’s economy, history and culture outside the region or have made significant contributions to knowledge about the Basques, their history and society. The Lagun Onari will be presented by Lόpez Álvarez, who was elected president or “lehendakari” in 2009, to Nevada’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki representing the State of Nevada.

During the ceremony, Lehendakari Lόpez Álvarez and University President Milt Glick will also sign an agreement or “convenio.” The agreement encourages further collaboration between the Basque Government, the University and the Center for Basque Studies through the study of Basque heritage and culture, and the disseminationof the results of this research.

“A relationship with the Basque Country and the community of Euskadi is important to the mission of the Center for Basque Studies,” Co-Director of the Center Joseba Zulaika said. “This support allows us to further our research and writing on many social topics of international importance, such as migration, nationalism, language, literature and diasporas. These topics are becoming even more relevant in this global era.”

“The Center for Basque Studies is a unique aspect of the University,” said Glick. “It provides a valued tie to a vibrant culture and an important aspect of this region’s history. Through its research and publications, the center links the University to an international community and advances our academic reputation abroad.

“We are pleased to welcome President Lόpez Álvarez to our campus and to further strengthen our relationship with the Basque government and universities,” said Glick.

The Basque Country encompasses four provinces in Spain and three provinces in France. More than 6,000 people of Basque origin live in Nevada, according to the 2000 U.S. Census data in 2000, making the “Silver State” the third largest with Basque presence after California, with nearly 21,000, and Idaho, with nearly 6,700.

In addition to its research, the Center for Basque Studies offers instructional programs on the history, culture, politics, literature and language of the Basque Country; has published numerous books; and features an extensive Basque library collection. The center is located on the third floor of the University’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. For more information about the Center for Basque Studies, visit http://basque.unr.edu/.

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