Basque Studies at Boise State University seeks to engage with our campus community, as well as the broader Basque community that is pursuing the shared goals of Basque education. We have sought to create bridges or links with various other Basque organizations here locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
While Basques have enjoyed significant opportunities in Idaho and the Western U.S., they have also provided critical resources to the community. Boarding houses allowed the immigrant generation to gather together. Basque Centers and other local and regional associations furthered these ties in the communities. The Basque Studies Program provides another avenue to connect academically with those in the Basque Country and other Basque communities throughout the world.
Our program aspires to provide resources for the greater community and region where Boise State University is located in Boise, Idaho. Idaho is home to a large concentration of people of Basque decent and Boise has the only Basque museum and Basque language school in the United States. We remain connected to the educational efforts of the Boise Basque Museum as well as Euzkaldunak or Boise Basque Center.
Outreach has been key to the origins of Basque Studies at Boise State. When the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture (formerly Cenarrusa Center for Basque Studies) approached Boise State with interest and financial support, the development of the program accelerated. We have also recently joined with the North American Basque Organizations, a federation of U.S. and Canadian Basque organizations, to be a part of this shared effort, or as the motto says: “Celebrate + Educate = Perpetuate.”
These are just a few examples of the benefits of outreach in a reciprocal fashion. Basque Studies benefits from its ongoing contacts with various Basque organizations, and Boise State’s program in turn can provide beneficial educational components to a community in search of viable ways of retaining an active interest among their members.
The early origins of Basque Studies at Boise State University goes back to 1974-75, when Boise area locals in the Basque community in conjunction with Boise State University established a successful study abroad program in the Basque Country, that later became the University Studies Abroad Consortium. Then thirty years later, in a repeated pattern of sorts, members of the local Basque community again approached Boise State University, this time with the proposal of creating a full-fledged Basque Studies Program as part of the formal offerings of the University. This initiative was headed by the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture (formerly the Cenarrusa Center for Basque Studies). In 2004-05, the Basque Studies element of the Cenarrusa Foundation was transferred to Boise State University, and since then the program has continued to expand with varied course offerings including a Basque Studies Minor, and our popular weekend workshops. (Pictured is Pete T. Cenarrusa)