Agirre Center USA
2014/04/06 16:55:00 GMT+2
ALC director Juan Jose Ibarretxe presents the Basque socioeconomic transformation experience in Philadelphia and announces a new collaboration agreement with Columbia University in New York.

A delegation from Agirre Lehendakaria Center has recently visited the US. The main goal of this visit was, on one hand, to strengthen the relations with its collaborators in the American country; on the other hand, the center’s director took part in the 17th Annual LAX Conference on Entrepeneurship, organized by SWARTHMORE COLLEGE in Philadelphia.


During the visit to the US the Basque delegation from ALC, lead by Juan Jose Ibarretxe, met their collaborators at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY in New York. Both institutions signed a collaboration agreement three years ago, in order to research and measure Sustainable Human Development based territorial TRANSFORMATION MODELS. This agreement has allowed them to understand better the deep social, economic and political transformation experienced by the Basque Country in the last few decades, as well as share it internationally. With the aim of continuing to research in this particular area, next June a NEW COLLABORATION AGREEMENT between Columbia University and Agirre Lehendakaria Center will be signed.


During this three years period the researchers at Columbia University reached the following conclusion: it is absolutely necessary to identify the CULTURAL FACTORS (kultura in Basque) that have allowed an extraordinary response to a situation of extreme difficulty the Basque Country. The key to understand this response would not lie in how things have been done (reindustrialization strategy, recovery of the Basque language, the Guggenheim Museum, the RGI for income security…), but in the cultural factors and the social imaginary that have allowed that response, and also in the ability to overcome constraining factors (RESILIENCE). This thesis could be condensed in the following motto: THE K IS THE KEY.


Both institutions are thus committed to explore new lines of work around this issue that could be applied to other regions and countries in the world facing similar problems. Such different regions such as WALES, CROATIA, QUEBEC, SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND have shown their interest in sharing the Basque transformation experience, as well as in collaborating with ALC in the future.

After the New York meeting the Basque delegation flew to Philadelphia in order to take part in the 17TH ANNUAL LAX CONFERENCE ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP, in which ALC Director Juan Jose Ibarretxe was among the main speakers. The conference featured a panel discussion, networking opportunities and the popular SwatTank Student Innovation competition. The theme was shared or SUSTAINABLE VALUE — that is, businesses actively changing their practices to not only do good business but good for society. Former Basque President Ibarretxe presented the BASQUE EXPERIENCE AS A CASE STUDY to all the participants.

Among the main goals of Agirre Lehendakaria Center is to connect the Basque Country with the world and vice versa. We find essential to bring the Basque diaspora together, as well as to build bridges to CONNECT ALL THE BASQUES AROUND THE WORLD. ALC took therefore the chance offered by this US visit to meet the members of the Washington Basque Center (EUSKAL ETXEA) and discuss potential collaboration projects.