A parliamentary delegation of the Basque Country of the Kingdom of Spain paid an official visit to Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) on May 25. TSU Rector George Sharvashidze hosted Andoni Ortuzar, President of the Basque Nationalist Party, Mikel Burzako, Director of the Party’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Andoni Iturbe, Cultural Advisor to the Basque Government, and other members of the delegation.
As part of the visit, the Basque Holy Tree “Guernica” was planted in the yard of the 1st Building of TSU and a solemn ceremony was held at the TSU Museum, which was also attended by Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of Spain, Ilia Giorgadze and representatives of the TSU academic community involved in the studies of the Basque language and culture. Besides the TSU Museum, the guests visited the TSU Library and viewed the 19th century Basque linguistic publications from Akaki Shanidze’s personal collections.
“The Basque cultural research has been underway at TSU for more than 50 years and TSU students have an opportunity to study the Basque language. Tbilisi State University is actively collaborating with the University of the Basque Country, which is the best educational institution in Europe. We discussed a lot of issues at the meeting, including the prospects of possible cooperation, joint projects. We also focused on the World Congress of Literary Studies, which will be held in Tbilisi. A special corner will be arranged, where famous Basque writers will present their works to a broad audience,” Rector Sharvashidze said.
Mikel Burzako, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Basque Nationalist Party, said that the tree planted in the yard of TSU is very symbolic for the Basque Country. He also touched upon the issues of expanding relations with TSU.
Teaching of the Basque language and culture at TSU is a joint initiative by Tbilisi State University and the Etxepare Basque Institute, which aims to popularize the Basque language and culture in Georgia and develop closer relations with Spain, especially the Basque Country.