Juan Jose Ibarretxe, Former President of the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain, to Speak at UMass Amherst

Juan Jose Ibarretxe
Juan Jose Ibarretxe

AMHERST, Mass. – Juan Jose Ibarretxe, former president of the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain and director of the Agirre Lehendakaria Center of Social and Political Studies, will deliver the second annual William Douglass Chair in Basque Cultural Studies Lecture, Tuesday, April 17 at 5 p.m. in the third floor conference room of Gordon Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ibarretxe’s presentation, “How to Change a Country,” is free and open to the public.

In the early 1980s, the Basque region of Spain was beset by conflict and its economy was in ruins. Three decades later, it is at peace and second only to Luxembourg in Europe’s prosperity index. From the opening of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, to the eve of the separatist group ETA’s lasting ceasefire, Ibarretxe will explore what lessons other countries can learn from the Basque region’s rebirth.

The William A. Douglass Chair in Basque Cultural Studies, inaugurated in 2016, is made possible by the Etxepare Basque Institute, which serves as a co-host for this event with the UMass Amherst department of anthropology. Ibarretxe, who served as Basque Autonomous Community president from 1999-2009, will be introduced by William Douglass, coordinator emeritus of the Basque Studies Center of the University of Nevada, Reno. The lecture will be followed by a reception hosted by the department of anthropology and the UMass Amherst International Programs Office.

Additional support for this presentation has been provided by the International Programs Office, the School of Public Policy, the Modern European studies program, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Political Economy Research Institute.

More information about the event can be found here.