Organizer John Ysursa, a lecturer in the history department, noted the event was “intended to generate conversation and inspire innovative collaboration in Basque Studies. Support for students was our primary goal for the Mintzagai (conversation).”
The three-hour mini-conference also connected institutions with one another to share information about current efforts. “We aimed to help students connect with one another about their work, and to provide a forum for them to hear about Basque Studies efforts across the world,” Ysursa added.
Graduate students and representatives from 18 educational, cultural, and governmental institutions presented. Truly an international event, attendees logged in from Argentina, Japan, the Basque Country, and the United States.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the broad participation of institutions, graduate students and other observers,” co-organizer John Bieter, professor in the history department said. “What a great turnout for the first Diaspora Eguna Mintzagai!”
Participant feedback was also positive. “It was great to put names and faces together and hear what everyone is doing,” wrote one participant. Another said, “sometimes being a student in Basque Studies can be isolating. I realized there is actually a pretty large community working on diverse projects.”
Boise State’s Basque Studies team includes John Bieter, John Ysursa, Ziortza Gandarias Beldarrain, assistant professor of world languages, Nere Lete, professor of world languages and Meggan Laxalt, a member of the adjunct faculty in the history department.