Center for Basque Studies celebrates 50 years of research and outreach

A half-century promoting the Basques through publications, conference presentations, lectures, creative activities and more; celebratory year ends with ENE 2018 award

Campus and community members gathered in the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies during the 50th anniversary reception Nov. 8, 2017. Photo credit: Gemma Martín Valdanzo.


12/22/2017 | By: Natalie Fry |

It has been 10 years since "A Candle in the Night: Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, 1967-2007," was published, chronicling the then 40-year history of the Center for Basque Studies by Pedro J. Oiarzabal. Ten years later, the University of Nevada, Reno celebrated the inception of the Basque studies program that led to the creation of the Center for Basque Studies, and 50 years of national and international research recognition.

To celebrate this milestone, the Center held a reception Wednesday, Nov. 8, with more than 150 in attendance. The event included a formal program with remarks from President Marc Johnson, Bill Douglass, original director of the Center and for whom it is named, and Xabier Irujo, the current co-director.  

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In a letter to the Center, President Johnson wrote, "It is a great pleasure to extend my best wishes to the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies on its 50th anniversary. I wish to pay tribute to the many accomplishments of its faculty, (current and emeritus) and staff."  

Soon after the anniversary celebration, the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies and the Jon Bilbao Basque Library received a distinguished prize (the Euskara International Day Prize) by Eusko Ikaskuntza - the Basque Studies Society in the Basque Country.  

Every year on Dec. 3, on the International Day of Euskera (Basque Language), Euskararen Nazioarteko Eguna - the award based on its initials ENE - is awarded recognizing the work of groups and entities engaged in the Basque Diaspora in favor of the Basque language, its instruction, use or promotion.    

In its remarks, the jury stressed the hard work the University's Center has done to increase awareness of the Basque language and an understanding of Basque culture on regional, national and international levels during the past 50 years. News of the prize was published on the International Day of the Basque Language in the Basque press.  

"The faculty and staff of the Center and Library are extremely grateful to Eusko Ikaskuntza for this honor," Sandra Ott, associate professor and co-director said.  

"Congratulations to the Center and all the colleagues there, as well as the Advisory Board, who have worked to build the Center's visibility and reputation," Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Debra Moddelmog said. "This is very well deserved given all the excellent work faculty and staff do at the Center to increase awareness and knowledge of the Basque people, culture, history and language across the world."  

The Center has also made huge strides in publishing through the CBS Press that has published 140 books since its inception, on a myriad of Basque topics by respected academics and Basque authors in the United States and abroad.   

The Center for Basque Studies Mission and History

The Center for Basque Studies' mission is to conduct, facilitate, and disseminate original Basque-related research in the humanities and social sciences, in cooperation with appropriate academic departments at UNR, as well as at other American and foreign universities. The Center for Basque Studies is the leading research and educational institute of its kind outside the European Basque homeland with a unique tutorial Ph.D. program and an active publishing house that produces books on a wide variety of Basque-related topics.   


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