Meet visiting scholar Iñigo Medina from the General Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Basque Government!

My name is Iñigo Medina (Bilbao, 1988) and I am the new intern scholar of the Directorate for the Basque Community Abroad of the General Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Basque Government. I will work and research in the CBS, here in Reno, until December 2018 or January 2019.

I earned my BA in Philosophy at the UPV/EHU (Donostia-San Sebastian) and I pursued an MA in International Relations in Leioa after that. A language fan, critical thinker and passionate reader, I consider myself just another holistic, curious person. The main topics I have researched concerned culture, language, technology and the environment, which I mostly approached from a philosophical point of view. I really enjoy playing Basque handball (eskupilota) with friends in an amateur mood, which is why I am planning a potential visit to Elko or San Francisco!

I landed in Reno during the second week of May, although I have visit the CBS before in February, when our Department representatives from the Basque Government were here making an official visit. The CBS group has made everything so easy to me from the first moment, I must say I am so grateful to all them.

Reno shocked me as city and somehow, I said to myself, I liked it. From what I have seen so far, it is a paradoxical place with his gambling tradition on the one hand, and this marvelous University campus with its own Basque Library on the other hand, which amazed me from the first moment. A home to Basque people due to its sheep herding and boarding houses, Reno represents a different narrative elongation of Basque culture, which I never expected before. Reno seems to be mix of natural environment and urban enclave, sheltered by those magnificent mountains which could represent a truly menacing expression of “Physis,” and the oasis archetype engulfed in “Polis” with its vivid downtown and its top academic campus.

My primary duties within the CBS will be helping and assisting the Diaspora Department of Lehendakaritza/Presidency of the Basque Government under the leadership of its Director Gorka Alvarez Aranburu. I will help manage relationships with all the registered Basque Clubs in North America (USA, Canada and Mexico). This includes a close following of the different realities people experience here, and learning about the strenghs and weaknesses, threats and opportunities of the aforementioned Basque Clubs. The will aim to establish a direct communication link between institutions, while also acquiring knowledge and doing research about the Basque diaspora.

Nowadays, the Department which I work for handles different grants and mobility programs aimed for all the Basque Clubs around the world (up to 190 centers and around 30 thousand registered members) mainly related with Basque culture, Basque associationism, institutions, and aiding citizenship matters. These programs pursue the goal of perpetuating and supporting Basque culture overseas, and forging relations between people who share Basque identity, while they live in so different latitudes. Because of its symbolic importance, the Basque Diaspora is well known as the “zortzigarren lurraldea,”the “eight territory” in Euskara, of our historical geography.

As time goes by and if my schedule allows, I would be glad to discover  the city a bit more including its surrounding areas, the Riverside and maybe hiking routes, visit some other towns in the area, meet different people, collaborate with the CBS in any of their research programs, or even participate in some conferences or attend classes at the UNR, if possible.