For 40 years, the Center for Basque Studies has built an impressive academic reputation as the premiere program for research and teaching about the Basque country and people. The Nevada Legislature commemorated the milestone anniversary, May 7, with Assembly Concurrent Resolution 28, introduced by Assemblyman David Bobzien [D], Reno. The measure passed unanimously.
In the Senate, Majority Leader William J. Raggio [R] sponsored the resolution, also supported in debate by Minority Leader Dina Titus-D. Sen. Raggio described the importance of Basque people in the history of the state. Sen. Titus praised the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC). Sen. Titus, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor, lived in Donostia for one semester as a USAC instructor.
"This recognition is especially meaningful because the State of Nevada has funded the Center's research and teaching mission," said Gloria Totoricaguena, director. "It honors the importance of the Basque people to Nevada. The Basques have influenced ranching, teaching, the legal profession and small business throughout the state."
Five members of the Nevada assembly addressed the floor, describing fondly the Basques voters in their districts, former classmates and business partners. They spoke fondly of the Basque people's frugality, honor and integrity.
"The Basque people have contributed to Nevada values including the Western lifestyle, family, literature, traditions and commitment to public service," Assemblyman Bobzien said. "The Center for Basque Studies promotes academic scholarship, instruction, and preservation of the unique Basque experience. The resolution recognizes the quality and impact of their work."
The landmark center has conducted and published Basque-related research, developed an academic minor and doctoral program, and established an extensive Basque library collection that houses 50,000 volumes and 1,500 journal titles.
Approximately 40 scholars from the Basque country travel to the University each year to perform research and to use the library, which is reputed to have a more extensive collection than any library in the Basque country.
"The library houses many publications, documents, and maps that would have been destroyed in the Basque country under autocratic rule," Totoricaguena said. "Immigrants and their families have donated private collections to the center's library so we have originals in our outstanding collection that are not available anywhere else."
The Center for Basque Studies promotes research and teaching in political science, sociology, migration studies, literature, anthropology, urban studies and a myriad of disciplines that compare the Basque experience to other human experiences.
The center's five faculty members have produced or edited seven different book series and publish a semi-annual newsletter disseminated to academic institutions, scholars, Basque people, and others interested in the culture.
"The center faculty has quietly and consistently promoted Basque studies to an English-speaking world," Totoricaguena said. "Just as we as a global society protect endangered flora and fauna, the Center for Basque Studies protects endangered culture, language, and traditions."