World Congress of
The Basque Government,
through the Directorate for Relations with Basque Communities, every
four years hosts a World Congress that assembles delegates from most all
Basque communities from around the world for a week-long assembly to
exchange ideas and create viable networks of cooperation.
INFORMATION. The Basque disapora is the name given to describe
people of Basque origin/identity living outside their traditional
homeland of "Euskal Herria" on the borders between Spain and France.
Over the centuries many Basques left the Basque Country for other parts
of the globe for economic and political reasons, with substantial
populations in Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia and the
United States. There are also Basque communities that have formed
in many major European cities such as Paris and Madrid.
main goal of the Congress is to promote the meeting and collaboration
among Basque communities, Basque clubs, federations and confederations
of Basque clubs, and Basque institutions.
There are many
Basque entities around the world the comprise the Basque
Diaspora. The image at right (click to enlarge) notes many
of these from a few years ago.
In 1994 the Autonomous Basque Government of
Euskadi (consisting of the union of three historical Basque regions
Araba, Bizkaia & Gipuzkoa) instituted a law that every four years a World Congress will be held in order to promote the
encounter and relations among the Basque Clubs and Communities and the
Basque institutions. The law also detailed how it was to be organized,
including three representatives coming from each country with a
registered Federation of Basque Clubs, or from countries without a
Federation but registered Basque Clubs, as full voting members.
The vote is important for the final declarations that conclude each
Congress with an agenda for the next four years for the Basque
Government and the various Basque communities in the Basque Diaspora.
A handful of other guests (non-voting) are also extended invitations to
attend. In the case of the United States delegation, NABO
delegates select them from a list of candidates
(Congress delegate app
The first three Congresses were all celebrated in Vitoria-Gastiez, the
capital of the Autonomous Government Region. The IV Congress
however will take place in Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque
Country and home to the world renowned Guggenheim Museum. This
latest installment is using the motto "Zubigintzan" which
means "building bridges." The aim is to promote and open new communication
ways among individuals, associations, companies and governments,
building bridges in many different directions with the main goal of
narrowing the distance between the Basque Country and its Diaspora.
4th Congress of Basque
Communities for more information about the upcoming Congress
in Bilbao during the second week of July at the Euskaldun
Convention Center (image at left).
Beginning on a Monday the Congress commences with an opening ceremony
where the delegates are greeted by leading representatives of the Basque
Government including the Lehendakari or President. During the week
delegates hear presentations/talks by various invited speakers related
to the Congress' theme. There are also various break-out group
discussions focused on specific aspects of developing a joint four-year
plan. One beneficial feature is the opportunity to meet people
from throughout the Diaspora and perhaps create new networks of
communication and interaction. The Congress concludes on Friday
with a formal
document based on the deliberations of the
IV Congress of Basque Communities
for the latest one!