Tag: Education

June 23, 1944: Birth of Begoña Sopelana, pioneering aid worker

There is a long tradition in the Basque Country of international aid work.  Among the illustrious roll call of names through history that we could mention, today it’s time to remember the figure of Begoña Sopelana Basauri. Born in Iurreta, Bizkaia, on June 23, 1944, she studied education, graduating in 1962.

Begoña Sopelana

After working in an administrative capacity through the 1960s, in 1968 she took up a new challenge and spent two years in El Salvador on a volunteer program, teaching daycare techniques as well as working as a medical advisor. On her return to the Basque Country she went on to study sociology and in 1977 she returned to El Salvador, where she worked in the field of education for marginalized persons. It was there that she met, and worked with,  Archbishop Óscar Romero, who was assassinated in 1980 for speaking out against the injustices of the regime in his homeland.

She worked in the violent unstable atmosphere of El Salvador through the early 1980s, principally in the field of providing a basic education for the children of the economically impoverished and socially excluded. In 1987, she was central to the construction of Las Vueltas, a purpose-built community in which she organized classes to train people to become teachers. She was especially interested in empowering women in this regard as well as in promoting community projects.

In 1993 she returned to Iurreta on account  of her failing health. She died in her home town in 1999.

On November 14, 2012, Las Vueltas was declared a city with zero illiteracy. This was officially communicated as the “Begoña Sopelana” declaration.

In 2015, a monument was erected in her honor in Las Vueltas.

If you’re interested in the topic of international aid work and Basque involvement therein, check out the CBS publication Development Cooperation: Facing the Challenges of Global Change, edited by Koldo Unceta and Amaia Arrinda. The book is  available free to download here.

 

Dale Erquiaga, CBS board member and new President and CEO of Communities in Schools

Dale Erquiaga, a member of CBS advisory board, is relocating to Washington D.C. to take up the post of President and CEO of Communities in Schools, an organization dedicated to student achievement, keeping kids in school and aiding educators by providing resources.

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A native Nevadan and Basque-American, Erquiaga has served on our board for several years. He has been the Chief Strategy Officer for Governor Brian Sandoval and the State of Nevada since 2015, with prior experience in education as Superintendent of Public Instruction and various consultancy jobs in policy development and communications. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science here at UNR and a Master’s in Leadership from Grand Canyon University.

It is great to see Basque-Americans taking up major posts at a national level. He is sure to contribute his extensive experience to this organization and we look forward to hearing more news about this new chapter in his career.

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To learn more about Communities in Schools, visit: https://www.communitiesinschools.org/

For more information about Erquiaga’s new post, read the following press release: https://www.communitiesinschools.org/press-room/resource/communities-schools-names-dale-erquiaga-president-and-ceo/