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The Etxepare Basque Institute will inaugurate the Koldo Mitxelena Chair at the University of Chicago on April 11


Aizpea Goenaga, Etxepare Basque Institute Director and Mari Jose Olaziregi, Director of the Promotion of Euskera (photo Etxepare)
Aizpea Goenaga, Etxepare Basque Institute Director and Mari Jose Olaziregi, Director of the Promotion of Euskera (photo Etxepare)


Aizpea Goenaga, director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, announced yesterday in Donostia, that the entity for the promotion of Basque culture abroad will launch two more chairs at universities in the US and Germany this year. The first, the Koldo Mitxelena Chair, will be inaugurated on April 11 at the University of Chicago, and this fall the Eduardo Chillida Chair will open at the Goethe University in Frankfurt. They have also identified the new visiting professor for the Bernardo Atxaga Chair at the City University of New York (CUNY), as Josean Fernandez, director of the Basque Film Library.




Donostia-San Sebastian.  The Koldo Mitxelena Chair, so called in honor of the great Basque linguist, will be part of the Division of Humanities at the University of Chicago with Lourdes Oñederra, tenured professor of phonology at the University of the Basque Country, as its first visiting professor.

The official inauguration of the chair will be preceded by a program of activities that will take place between the 9-22 of April co-organized by the Etxepare Basque Institute, the Cervantes Institute of Chicago as well as the university itself.  Literature, film and art will be the pillars of this program which includes, amon others the following: a talk by journalist Paddy Woodworth, round-tables with Basque writers Arantxa Urretzbizkaia and Eider Rodriguez, a screening of the films by Helena Taberna and Asier Altuna (as part of the Latin Film Festival) and an exhibit of Erlea Maneros Zabalaren at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts of the University of Chicago.

These events, which span over two weeks, will be attended by the Basque Government’s Minister of Culture, Blanca Urgell and Mari Jose Olaziregi, Director of the  Promotion of Euskera at the Etxepare Institute, as well as its director Aizpea Goenaga who will attend the closing acts.  Amaia Gabantxo, the university’s Basque Language and Culture lector, will also participate in the activities. 

Eduardo Chillida Chair in Frankfurt

The heads of the Etxepare Institute also showed their satisfaction with the creation of the Eduardo Chillida Chair that will be inaugurated in the fall at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.  This Chair will specialize in Basque art and especially in the works of this artist from Donostia.  This year marks the tenth anniversary of his death, which makes the inauguration of this chair this year even more poignant, according to sources at the Etxepare Institute, who greatly appreciated the Chillida family’s support of this project.  

In addition to classes, the agreement with the German university also aims to develop an international conference on Chillida’s work, at least during the first two years.   A section dedicated to the artist will also be established in the Library of Arts in Frankfurt with a complete bibliography, which will make the University one of the reference centers for the study of Chillida’s works, along with the Chillida Leku Museum.  

Basque film in New York

The Etxepare Institute has also created the program for the Bernardo Atxaga Chair at City University of New York for the 2012-2013 academic year, that will concentrate on Basque film, as per the university’s request. 

Josean Fernandez, Director of the Basque Film Library, will be the visiting professor during this year, in which the academic program will be accompanied by film screenings and seminars with Basque directors.  Fernandez is a professor at the University of Nantes, and has also directed the film festival in this city for a number of years. 

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