Eva Ferreira García

Euskara buruan, ibili munduan: Travel the world speaking Basque

Rector of the UPV/EHU

  • Cathedra

First publication date: 02/12/2021

Eva Ferreira García. Photo: Fernando Gómez. UPV/EHU.

The University of the Basque Country has chosen the motto ‘Euskara buruan, ibili munduan’ to celebrate the International Basque Day this year. The motto is a play upon words based on the well-known Basque proverb ‘Txapela buruan eta ibili munduan’, which can be translated as ‘With the Basque beret on your head, travel the world’ and can therefore be interpreted as a call to travel the world speaking Basque (euskara), namely, keeping your roots (the Basque beret).

This year, the motto adequately reflects the international dimension of the celebration of the Basque Day, as the Basque community is traditionally characterized by its openness to the world. Our university is among the 400 best universities in the world, which places Basque at a privileged position among the best world-class universities in the fields of higher education, research and transfer of knowledge.

The increase in the number of Basque speakers is remarkable on a global level. From being on the verge of extinction it made an extraordinary recovery and can now boasts about having more speakers than ever in its recent past: from 528,500 in 1991 to 751,500 in 2016. Behind this growth are people who have studied Basque in pre-, primary and secondary schools and in euskaltegis (Basque schools for adults), and the majority of Basques today are between 16 and 34 years old, all of which contributes to making the Basques of the 21st century mostly a bilingual community (Basque-Spanish in Spain and Basque-French in France).

The development that Basque society has undergone, is also reflected at the University of the Basque Country: in 2021, 75% of the students taking the university access exam chose to do so in the Basque language; every year more and more students read their doctoral dissertations in Basque; most of the young professors, researchers, administration and service personnel are bilingual, which contributes to making the university a space where all activities can be carried out in Basque; the number of books, manuals and learning materials published in Basque by our University Press is on the rise as evidenced by the 21 new publications which our University will show at the 56th edition of the traditional book and music fair in Durango (Durangoko Azoka) starting tomorrow.

Our public university offers a wide range of opportunities for anyone to study, carry out research and spread knowledge, in short, to live our daily lives in Basque, including those who want to become involved with our ancient language for the first time.

Basque has managed to survive for centuries and in the future it will do so thanks to all the people who learn and use Basque every day. The University of the Basque Country is also part of this miracle.

At the University of the Basque Country: euskara buruan, ibili munduan!!!