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A conference at the University of Deusto will discuss Basque emigration and the phenomenon of return


Historian and Diaspora Expert Dr. Pedro J. Oiarzabal one of the conference organizers
Historian and Diaspora Expert Dr. Pedro J. Oiarzabal one of the conference organizers


The University of Deusto will give the floor to members of the Basque Diaspora who have lived the phenomenon of returning to Euskal Herria, as part of a conference on emigration and return. The participants, Veronica Domingo (Argentina), Laura Igantzi (The US), Izar Errandonea (Uruguay) and Irantzu Leunda (Venezuela) will talk about their experiences in a debate moderated by Joseba Etxarri, director of Prior to the debate, researcher and Diaspora expert Dr. Pedro J. Oiarzabal will give a talk on emigration and return to Bizkaia.

Bilbao, Bizkaia.  The University of Deusto will host a conference, tomorrow, on emigration and return organized by the Basque Studies Institute and the Pedro Arrupe Human Rights Institute of the university, with the collaboration of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia through its BizkaiLab program.  A team of historians comprised of Pedro J. Oiarzabal and Nerea Mujika are currently conducting research on the emigration and return phenomenon in Bizkaia a part of this program.  Tomorrow’s conference is one of the first results of this study.

During the event Pedro Oiarzabal will give a brief presentation on this work in which numerous interviews have been done with emigrants who have returned.  He will also show a video made up of segments of these interviews.  “Among the people interviewed are children of the war, pilotaris, economic emigrants…Some of the stories that we have heard are heart-wrenching,” explained Oiarzabal to

“The goal is to make this invisible world visible, despite being a collective phenomenon, because all of us know someone, a grandparent, an uncle who emigrated.  There are towns in Bizkaia like Munitibar, for example, where we know more people from there in Reno, NV, than in the town itself,” he says.  “There is a part of our history that has been written abroad, and it’s time that we incorporate that into the Basque history.  In the case of those who have returned, these people are already here and are the living memory of our history; so let’s incorporate them.”


The conference program is the following:

-10:00 - 10:15 Conference inauguration. Nerea Mujika, Director of the Basque Studies Insitutte

-10:15 - 11:00 Pedro J. Oiarzabal, Human Rights Institute: "Mundos Invisibles: Emigración de Retorno a Bizkaia". (Invisible Worlds: Emigration and Return to Bizkaia.)

Video Presentation: "Gure Bizitzen Pasarteak: Erbeste, Emigrazio eta Itzulera Bizkaira" (Fragments of Our Lives: Exile, Emigration and Return to Bizkaia).

-11:00 - 11:30 Coffee break

-11:30 - 12:45 Roundtable and open debate: "First hand experiences of the returnee". Moderator: Joseba Etxarri, Director
-Verónica Domingo, Basque Community Argentina: "Itzulera: Euskadi eta Diasporaren Arteko: Feedback-a"
-Laura Igantzi, President, Euskal ArtzainakAmeriketan Association: "Euskal Artzainak Ameriketan"
-Izar Errandonea, President, Retbask, Association of Returned Basques and Families: "Memories of Emigration: The Big House"
-Irantzu Leunda, Representantative of the, Basque-Venezuelan Association Simón Bolívar

-12:45 - 13:00 Conclusions of the conference. Pedro J. Oiarzabal

-13:00 - 13:15 Closure. Nerea Mujika


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