Tag: University of Nevada Reno

Carmelo Urza’s retirement covered in Nevada Today

Carmelo Urza, the founding director of the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) and great friend of the Center, recently announced his retirement, ending a tenure on August 31 that began way back in 1982. To mark this auspicious occasion Urza was interviewed for Nevada Today, providing news from the Communications Office about the University of Nevada, Reno.

Having been part of a program that brought students to the Basque Country in 1974, a trip that would serve as the later inspiration for USAC, Urza’s initial objective was to organize a more permanent program along similar lines, which led to the creation of USAC in 1982. In his own words, “My goal was to create a viable, ongoing program in the Basque Country.” But a year and a half into the new program he realized that it would have to expand to remain viable: “We simply needed more programs in order to achieve the necessary economies of scale, more efficient use of our scarce resources and an even broader recruiting base if we were to have a chance at succeeding.”

Urza recognizes, though, that without the help of Bill Douglass and the (then) Basque Studies Program as well as Pat Bieter, a professor at Boise State, the program would never have gotten off the ground, with both involving their respective universities in financing the program initially.

Another connection with the Center is that of our own Sandra Ott, another key figure in the early days of USAC:

“Sandy heroically put her shoulder to the proverbial wheel and made a success of the San Sebastian program … making it up as we went along,” Urza says. “In retrospect, I realize how little assistance she had in bringing the program to life. Sandy reached out to the locals, many of whom were eager to help and created extraordinary authentic experiences for participating students.”

And from these solid foundations USAC grew into the global phenomenon it is today.

Urza also speaks about his own Basque-American upbringing, growing up on a sheep ranch in southwestern Idaho, just off the Snake River, where he would go up into the Saw Tooth Mountains with a herder, camp-tender, and hand.

See the full story here.

From everyone at the Center, eskerrik asko Carmelo and enjoy your retirement!

 

Basques in the United States: Add your personal tale to this ever expanding project

We here at the Center for Basques Studies are amazed by the amount of work that has gone into collecting the countless stories of Basque immigrants to the United States, and the results of this labor can be found in the three volumes, and counting, of Basques in the United States. Now it’s your turn to tell your story! Do you have a relative who migrated to the States? Perhaps you migrated here yourself! Have you taken a look at your own family members’ entries and found discrepancies or have additional information? We’d love your help, and it only takes a few minutes, here’s how:

First, visit our website: https://basquesintheus.blogs.unr.edu

There you will find links to add a new entry, correct an existing entry, or add to an existing entry. Today, we’re going to look at creating a new entry.

Once you click on the link, you will be lead to the following page:

As you can see, it’s a form where you can input all of the information you know. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the specifics! Fill in what you know.

Next, you will be asked to add more personal information about the family, work experience(s), and stories of your migrant. Once again, do the best you can!

Be sure to add a photo if you have one!

Lastly, you are required to include your own information so that we can reach out to you.

Once again, this is your chance to be part of this amazing project! Be sure to take a few minutes out of your busy day to preserve the history and memory of your family, believe me, it will be worth it. And keep in mind, we regularly post on individuals mentioned in this biographical encyclopedia. Who knows, you or your family members could be next!

Please contact us via replies (at the bottom of this page) if you need further assistance. We look forward to reading your stories!

Xabier Irujo to speak on Basque language, writing and exile at the Sabino Arana Foundation

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Andima Ibinagabeitia, Jokin Zaitegi, and Nikolas Ormaetxea, Orixe. Source: Center for Basque Studies Archive.

Dr. Xabier Irujo will speak on the situation of the Basque language from the Second Carlist War until after the Spanish War of 1936-1939. Beginning from the premise of writers like Miguel de Unamuno, who relegated Basque to a second tier, Xabier will lead the audience through the Basque renaissance that happened following the Second Carlist War that continued through the 1936 war, at which time the major impetus for the preservation fell upon the Basques, exiled from the Francoist dictatorship, who carried on this important work in exile, usually in Latin America. Among many others, Zaitegi, Ibinagabeitia, Orixe and Ametzaga were some of the Basque writers and patriots in exile. In this conference, Xabier will treat the importance of translation of these authors who lived in exile in París, Casablanca, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, México and Caracas, and, in general, on the importance of Basque.

The conference will take place at the Sabino Arana Foundation in Bilbao on Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm.

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Readers interested in this subject should check out Xabier’s Expelled from the Motherland, and for a bit of a different story of exile, A Basque Patriot in New York by Inaki Anasagasti and Jose Erkoreka.

The Reno Basque Monument

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It has finally come to the time of semester when projects and deadlines are are among us and the end is in sight.  I, along with a few other students in the Center for Basque Studies, are preparing to head to the Basque Country.  Iker Saitua has graduated (and is now Dr. Saitua), Ziortza is returning home for the summer to be with family, and I am heading over for some intensive language learning in the small town of Lazkao, Gipuzkoa.

In addition to getting out with my dog Mowgli in the nicer weather we’ve been having here lately, I thought it would be appropriate to visit the Reno Basque Monument in preparation to bridge the gap from where I’ve been living and studying for the last year and a half, and the real deal.  On the way to hiking to the “N” which can be seen from many parts of Reno,

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I stopped to see the map of settlements, the monument itself and the list of names …

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Nestor Basterretxea Arzadun was the Basque artist who helped design the Basque Monument titled Solitude.  He also worked closely with other Basque artists, largely on the topic of emptiness within Basque culture and identity.

Emily Lobsenz captured Nestor’s story shortly before his death, on video in her film Song of the Basques.

 

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Living in Reno and seeing the local Basque-American culture has prepped me for the next year when I finally am able to experience first-hand all that I’ve learned since starting the program here at the Center for Basque Studies.  While I expect there to be many similarities between the two spaces, I know there will be a world of difference.

Here’s to the Basque Country-see you soon!

 

 

 

Center featured in KNPB’s Arteffects

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The National Monument to the Basque Sheepherder, Rancho San Rafael, Reno, NV.

Episode 113 of KNPB‘s show Arteffects, which aired on April 29, included a feature on Basque art with the Center’s own Joseba Zulaika speaking about Basque immigration, Nestor Basterretxea’s Monument to the Basque Sheepherder in Reno’s San Rafael Park and Orreaga in the UNR library (be sure to check out the blog tomorrow, Friday, May 6, for a feature on Basterretxea), the history and development of the CBS as well as the arborglyphs or tree carvings made by Basque sheepherders and the importance of art in the Basque Country in general as a key part of its cultural legacy. The show also featured Kelly Reis, Executive Director of the Sparks Museum & Cultural Center, discussing the temporary exhibit titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Basques,” covered in an earlier post.

Check out the show (with the report on Basque art at approx. 19m 30s) here.

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Basque tree carvings.

If you’re interested in Basque art, check out Beyond Guernica and the Guggenheim: Art and Politics from a Comparative Perspective, edited by Zoe Bray.

See also Speaking Through the Aspens:  Basque Tree Carvings in California and Nevada, by Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe. And check out Joxe’s site dedicated to this fascinating piece of Basque-American social and cultural history here.

The Center’s Advisory Board Meets at the University

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Advisory Board members and guests take a moment for the camera Nestor Basterretxea’s Orreaga, installed this year in the Matthewson-IGT Knowledge Center’s main hall, downstairs from the Jon Bilbao Basque Library.

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UNR President Marc Johnson speaks to the Center Advisory Board

The Center’s annual meeting of the Advisory Board brought almost 100% of its members together in Reno on April 16th. Sixto Jimenez and Pello Salaburu made the longest journey (from the Basque Country) to attend. Eskerrik asko to all for having made the event such a success! President Johnson opened the meeting with words of welcome and university news. He and Provost Carman joined us that evening for a family-style dinner at Louis’ Basque Corner. The noise level matched the level of collective enjoyment!

Basterretxea’s Orreaga Reinstalled at the New Library

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Nestor Basterretxea’s Orreaga, recently installed in the Matthewson-IGT Knowledge directly downstairs from the Center!

On February 11, 1985 a ceremony attended by over 200 persons was held in the foyer of UNR’s Getchell University Library that inaugurated the exhibition of two Basque sculptures now on display at the University of Nevada: Orreaga by Nestor Basterretxea (1924-2014) and Gaztelu by Remigio Mendiburu (1931-1990).

Both sculptures were generously loaned to the University by Jose Ramon Cengotitabengoa and Gemma Egaña.

Basterretxea, right, at the dedication of the Monument to the Basque Sheepher in Rancho San Rafael. With Carmelo Urza

Basterretxea, right, at the dedication of the Monument to the Basque Sheepher in Rancho San Rafael. With Carmelo Urza

Basterretxea worked as a sculptor, painter, designer, and film producer. He had many individual exhibitions and participated in more than 150 collective ones, mainly in Europe. Eleven of his largest works adorn public buildings and urban spaces in the Basque Country, and his Solitude, the National Monument to the Basque Sheepherder, stands in Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. Mendiburu was a leading Basque sculptor dedicated to the expression of traditional Basque culture through the medium of contemporary visual arts. His works have been exhibited widely in Europe. Gaztelu–a massive wooden motif to depict both the diversity and continuity of the seven traditional Basque regions with a single taproot of Basque culture–was taken to Elko where it stayed until 2008 when, following Jose Ramon´s wishes,  it was brought back to UNR for the inauguration of the new Center for Basque Studies at the new library.

In the meantime Orreaga stayed in the old Getchell Library until is was transported to the Center, cleaned, and placed in a crate waiting for its re-installment at the new library. Orreaga is the Basque term for Roncesvalles (Spanish) or Ronceveaux (French), a town that commemorates the famous battle at the mountain pass in the Pyrenees during which Basques attacked the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne’s rearguard. The emperor’s commander Roland was killed, giving rise to the famous epic poem La chanson du Roland (The Song of Roland), one of the oldest works in French literature. The base piece of the sculpture is seated within a U-shaped wooden framework which represents the canyon in which Charlemagne’s imperial forces were attacked. The base piece depicts Charlemagne’s trapped army with its anguished cries rising to the heavens. From above, descending upon them is the bird of death in the form of the avenging Basque forces.

Orreaga is installed at the northern main entrance on the main floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, hanging from the wall next to the rotunda. It can be seen from the Center´s entrance floor as well, where Gaztelu is exhibited, thus establishing a dialogue between the two iconic pieces of two of the greatest postwar Basque artists.

Orreaga was officially installed during the November 3rd ceremony to rename the Center as the William A. Douglas Center for Basque Studies and the Basque Library collection as the Jon Bilbao Basque Library.

 

Nevada Governor, UNR President and Many More Come out to Celebrate Our Renaming as the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies

We are so proud and honored to have welcomed many dignitaries and old friends last night for the official renaming event in which the Center for Basque Studies has become the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies. The event, and the renaming was the result of an incredible amount of hard work by the Center’s faculty, staff, and advisory board, as well as the great people of the University of Nevada Reno. This event was not only a celebration of the work of Bill Douglass, but also of the place that the Center has forged in the hearts and minds of the state of Nevada, attested by the fact that both UNR President Marc Johnson and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval called “A jewel in the crown” of the university and of the state. It is such an honor and privilege to get to represent this amazing center, a unique place in the world, as we move forward proudly carrying the name of founder and father of Basque Studies, William A. Douglass.

Here are some of our favorite moments from the night, including remarks by Governor Sandoval, President Johnson, and Bill himself.

Author Biography of Dr. Mariann Vaczi, an Alumni of the University of Nevada, Reno

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Dr. Mariann Vaczi is an associate professor in anthropology at the College of Dunaújváros, Hungary. Dr. Vaczi was born in Hungry to a physical education teacher father and an English teacher mother. Dr. Vaczi grew up in a small town of Dunaújváros, 70 km south of Budapest. Dunaújváros was a socialist model town in terms of architecture, community ideology, and everyday life. During her childhood she experienced the democratic transformations in her home town and the fall of the Hungarian Iron Curtain Communist regime in 1989.

Dr. Vaczi has been acquainted with sports since her early childhood. Two of her brothers were elite track and field athlete champions in the Hungarian decathlon and pole vaulting. Dr. Vaczi herself was a professional basketball player. Dr.  Vaczi had great opportunities to study abroad with scholarships, while she was working as a professional basketball player and coach.

The inspiration of a college professor during her undergraduate studies at the Saint Vincent College, as well as her multicultural experiences, made her choose a very apt career as an anthropologist. Dr. Vaczi earned her PhD in Basque Studies and Anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Under the guidance of Dr. Joseba Zulaika, she was a very successful student who was able to demonstrate her ability to write and publish high-quality work in anthropology.

Dr. Vaczi’s familiarity with sport is reflected in her research interests in the areas of the anthropology and sociology of sport, games, and folk performances. Her  latest publication is a book titled Soccer, Culture and Society in Spain: An Ethnography of Basque Fandom, published by Routledge.

Dr. Vaczi also edited the CBS publication, Playing Fields: Power, Practice, and Passion in Sports, a collection of conference papers exploring multiple dimensions of popular sports in both the Basque Country and beyond.

The End of Arms Conflict in Basque Country: Seminar at the University of Liverpool

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The speakers of the seminar: “The End of Arms Conflict in Basque Country.” The Center’s Dr. Xabier Irujo is pictured second from the left (from Berria).

The University of Liverpool collaborated with the Etxepare Basque Institute in hosting a seminar on the end of arms conflict in Basque Country.  The seminar focused on the peace progress in Basque Countries after ETA (Basque indigenous separatist movement) ended its arm struggle and decided to pursue peaceful strategies in achieving independence for Basque country. Some of the prominent experts invited in the seminar were Dr. Xabier Irujo of the University of Nevada in the United States, Dr. Inigo Urrutia of the University of Basque country, Dr. Kevin Bean of the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Amaia Agirrek from the Agirre Center, and Juan Jose Ibarretxe, the former president of the Basque country. Read Berria’s coverage of the event here http://www.berria.eus/albisteak/109443/euskal_gatazka_hizketagai_liverpoolen.htm (in Basque)