Recently, Andrea Bartoli, dean of the School of Diplomacy and
International Relations and a team of distinguished academics with
expertise in conflict resolution and post-conflict governance, gathered
in New York to discuss the Basque Peace and Coexistence Plan and future
of the country.
The three political-administrative structures involved in the Basque
country are the French State, le Pays Basque and within the Spanish State, the Basque Autonomous Community and
the Autonomous Community of Navarra. These groups have had challenges
harmonizing internal relations and a long history of force and violence
as a tool to solve the problem.
Dean Bartoli has been involved with the Basque country for more than
15 years through Elkarri, a social movement for dialogue and agreement
in the Basque Country. He also worked on launching the Agirre
Lehendakaria Center for Social and Political Studies.
According to Dean Bartoli, the Basque country has transformed
dramatically in recent years. “The first time I visited the country,
politicians and citizens were killed. The general climate was very
intense,” he explained. “But now, there is a sense of openness and
possibility – totally a different climate. This is why the peace plan is
so important because you want peace to be solidified.”
The cease fire declaration by the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the
main organization of the Basque National Liberation Movement, prompted
the Basque government to assemble an international team of experts.
At the conference, President Iñigo Urkullu explored new challenges
that faced the country and his commitment to foster a new status by 2015
based on bilateralism, self-respect and acknowledgment of their
identity as a European nation.
“For Basques greater self-governance means more well-being and more
well-being means greater social fairness,” said Pres. Urkullu. “We
deserve a new status in order to live better.”
Dominic Anozie, a School of Diplomacy master’s level student who
participated in the Basque conference, said it was an opportunity to put
theory into practice and experience an integration of Dean Bartoli’s
insights on Bernard Lonergan’s theory about the preventability of an
Anozie said it was a humbling experience to observe what goes on
behind the curtain to see diplomacy in action.“It was profound to
witness the critical players in the design of the Basque project
expatiate on their hopes and dreams of a new Basque Country,” said
Anozie. “It was an experience that left me appreciating the role of
Partnering with the Agirre Center, the School of Diplomacy and
International Relations will assist the Basque country through continued
research on economic development along with a study of Lonergan.
Both undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to participate in research projects and conferences.
Dr. Borislava Manojlovic, director of Research Projects at the School
of Diplomacy and International Relations and a main organizer of the
Basque conference, said research projects funded by the Fetzer Institute
will focus on love and forgiveness in government, and prisoners in
According to Dean Bartoli, ongoing Basque projects and new research
opportunities are an effort to expand the academic curriculum at the
School. There are now three new academic centers at the school including
one dedicated to the study of peace and conflict.
Dean Bartoli said, “The enthusiasm of the faculty and students is very palpable.”
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