ZER NAHIA: What
does the Basque Government want of Basque clubs?
It is an
often repeated inquiry: what does the Basque Government want of Basque
In his address at the Basque Cultural Center of San Francisco (Feb.
2008), the President of the Basque Autonomous Government of Euskadi,
Juan Jose Ibarretxe, laid out their three-fold aspirations.
Related links: Lehendakari Ibarretxe Speaking at Stanford
This is only a portion of Lehendakari Ibarretxe's speech; you can read it
San Francisco Basque Cultural
"And now let me speak to you about the future. On many occasions
you ask us 'What does the Basque Government want from the Basque
Centres?' Well, as Lehendakari [President of the Autonomous Basque
Government of Euskadi] I would mention three challenges.
The first is that your
institutions become a social reference point in your communities; that
the people in your community have a kind of health y envy of your
co-existence and social projection. The more you grow both within your
clubs and in your projection out to the world, the greater will become
your recognition and social presence.
Lehendakari Ibarretxe greeting NABO President Mary
Gaztambide. He told her that he "wanted people in NABO
to know that he appreciates the work that we are doing."
And in this way, the
Basque Country will obtain greater recognition in the international
environments where Basque communities are to be found.
For the second challenge,
together with a show of solidarity between the Basque people, which is
something that needs to be continually strengthened, I would concentrate
on the young people of today, concentrate on their education, their
preparation so that in as short a time as possible they can become the
leaders of the Euskal Etxeak and the institutions in their communities.
There is no future without youth.
Lehendakari Ibarretxe and
other dignataries standing in front of a seedling of the
Tree of Gernika at the Basque Cultural Center in San
And finally for the third
challenge, I would ask the youngsters to build a new world, both in
the Euskal Etxeak and in their community.
In July last year, the 4th
Conference of Basque Communities was held. 50% of the participants were
youngsters. And the motto of the Conference was ZUBIGINTZAN, building
IV Congress of Basque
You are the bridge between
your parent’s generation--gurasoak--and your children’s--seme-alabak--you
are lodged between the past generation and the next. But bear in mind
that a bridge means meeting, union, mutual relations and projection.
Under no circumstances does it involve separation, disagreement,
From this perspective, it
would be interesting if in the 2011 Conference you could present the
objectives that were set during the previous Conference on recovering
the historical memory of Basque presence throughout the world and
especially in America. It is important to know where we come from: it is
important to quench our thirst at the fountain of knowledge of our
origins, our past history and the why and the wherefore of our Euskal
Lehendakari Ibarretxe greeting people at the Basque Cultural
But if it is important to
recover historical memory, the challenge of your projection and the
projection of your Euskal Etxeak into the future is by no means less
important. Don’t be afraid of change, of the new realities that will
crop up in your path. You will never be able to resolve the problems
of new situations with past strategies. But even though this is
true, never forget that the life of institutions depends upon
whether we get it right when setting up a community. We should built
a society where everyone feels at home and where everyone, both
young and old, perceives the Euskal Etxea as their own institution.
In the Basque Government we
firmly believe in the philosophy implied in the motto ZUBIGINTZAN-building
bridges: the work carried out by you and your ancestors has given the
Basque people and their representatives a positive international image.
And so I want to take this opportunity to thank you from the heart, to
say to you quite clearly: Eskerrik asko bihotz-bihotzez."
NOTE: This selection is take from the remarks of Lehendakri Ibarretxe
that can be read in its entirety by clicking on
San Francisco Basque Cultural
Related link: click
Lehendakari Ibarretxe Speaking at Stanford
to read his Stanford address