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Contacts from the Basque Parliament visiting the US, along with the Eusko Etxea of New York and Congressman Garamendi

03/15/2018

The Basque delegation in Congressman Garamendi’s office in the US Capitol
The Basque delegation in Congressman Garamendi’s office in the US Capitol

The Basque delegation attended the opening ceremonies at the UN of the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women.  They have spent the week holding meetings and visits, accompanied by the Delegate of Euskadi in the US, Ander Caballero, with a large number of bodies and institutions including with representatives of the New York Basque club, and in Washington DC with California Congressman, John Garamendi.

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New York, NY.  On Monday, the Basque delegation, comprised of the President of the Basque Parliament, Bakartxo Tejeria, and members of her council, Eva Blanco, Txarli Prieto, Cristina Macazaga and Iñigo Iturrate, as well as the director of Emakunde (Basque Institute of the Woman), Izaskun Landaida, held meetings with other delegations to the Commission on the Status of Women.  The goal of these encounters was to exchange experiences that contribute to the advancement of the common goal of real and effective equality between men and women.  Remember that the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women is the main international intergovernmental body devoted exclusively to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, which plays a crucial role in the promotion of women’s rights and the drafting of international standards.

The Parliamentary council also met with the President of the Sami Parliament of Norway, Aili Keskitalo, as well as with the Nordic Council (Nordiska rådet), the inter-parliamentary organization of cooperation between five Nordic countries, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, and the autonomous regions of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Aland. They also met with the Coordinator of the “I Know Politics” project of UN women Meriem Trabelsi, and with representatives of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program).

AThey met also with the local Basque-American community with a meeting with the board of directors of the Eusko Etxea of New York, the oldest NABO club, the North American Federation of Basque clubs.  This meeting aimed at better understanding the work done by this club since 1913, in favor of Basque and the Basque culture

Members of the Basque delegation also visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum, accompanied by its vice-president, Cliff Channin.

The group then travelled to Washington DC to have a meeting at the Capitol with John Garamendi, democratic congressional representative from California and member of the US Basque diaspora. The American leader very positive assessed the fact that 40 of the 75 seats in the Basque Parliament are occupied by women, a situation that is far from what occurs in the American legislature, he said.

The President of the Basque Parliament presented Garamendi with a symbol of the Basque Chamber.  “John Garamendi’s commitment to Euskadi, his country of origin, is well known, and comparing impressions with him is really enriching, and contributes to deepening knowledge of the US and its loceal Basque Diaspora,” Bakartxo Tejeria said.

Having studied at Berkeley and Harvard, Deputy Interior Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, former Lutenient Governor of the State of California, John Garamanei has visited Euskadi on several occasions.  One of the latest was in 2016, to accept the Sabino Arana Award that he was presented for his contributions to keeping the Basque identity alive in the US and the world.

Returning to New York, the Basque delegation met with the Minister of Equality and European Affairs of Malta, Helena Dalli, and with the Director of Human Rights and Integration of this country, Silvan Agius.

When asked her impressions of the trip, Barkartxo Tejeria stressed that it “allowed them to see firsthand what is being done, and where the world of equality politics and women’s empowerment is going.”

“It has advanced a lot in recent decades but there is still much to be done so that real and effective equality between men and women becomes a reality,” the President of the Basque Parliament concluded.



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