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NABO Elections: Californian Valerie Arrechea of San Francisco is the new president of the organization (video)


New NABO president Valerie Etcharren Arrechea, elected July 24th, 2009 at the Reno, Nevada Convention (photo
New NABO president Valerie Etcharren Arrechea, elected July 24th, 2009 at the Reno, Nevada Convention (photo


The annual North American Basque Organization (NABO) Convention took place last Friday in Reno, Nevada, bringing together almost forty Basque clubs and organizations from the United States and Canada, and marking the beginning of a new presidency for the institution. The previous president, Mary Gaztambide, did not run for reelection, which left Californian Valerie Etcharren Arrechea as the only candidate. Arrechea was elected in the first vote by unanimous vote, after being nominated by Kate Camino, president of Zazpiak Bat Basque Club of Reno. spoke with the new president --see video-- and will post further articles and videos of last weekend's Reno Basque events and celebrations. Please also see video of Guillermo Echenique, new general secretary of Foreign Relations of the Basque Government addressing the NABO delegates.

Reno, Nevada USA. The annual Convention of the North American Basque Organizations (NABO), united close to forty Basque associations from all over the US and Canada this past Friday in the newly renovated Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center on the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The building is home to the university’s Center for Basque Studies (CBS), whose official dedication and inauguration also took place this past Friday, in a ceremony that united academic and Basque authorities from both the US and the Basque Country. (See separate article)

On Friday morning, the representatives from various North American Basque clubs (from the US, as well as the Canadian clubs, Zazpiak Bat of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Quebec-eko Euskaldunak of Montreal, Quebec) met at eight o’clock to begin their tightly scheduled day. Chairpersons and representatives from each of the respective activities of the organization gave account of their work during the past year, since last year’s convention which took place last August in Chino, California. NABO treasurer Grace Mainvil also gave her annual detailed report, which was received and approved by the delegates.

One of the day’s final and most important points of order was of course the actual election of the new NABO president. The previous president, Mary Gaztambide did not run for reelection, leaving the Californian Valerie Etcharren Arrechea as the only running candidate. Kate Camino, president of the Reno Zazpiak Bat Basque Club nominated Arrechea and gave a short biography of the candidate, who was then elected by the delegates unanimously. The new president, who is 38 years old, was born in San Francisco and grew up in a very active family in the Basque community. She is the daughter of Pierro Etcharren, former president of NABO and vicepresident until this year's convention, as this position has now rotated to the outgooing president Mary Gaztambide.

Guillermo Echenique visits the Convention

After the election of the new NABO president, the new secretary general of exterior action for the Basque Government, Guillermo Echenique, was received at the Convention. Mr  Echenique addressed those in attendance with a message of greeting on behalf of Lehendakari (Basque president) Lopez, in the new Basque leader´s first official contact with NABO. Echenique attended the conference accompanied by Benan Oregi, Official from the same department.

Echenique and Oregi traveled to San Francisco, California on Sunday, where they met with representatives of the Bay Area's Basque community, where they were joined by Julian Celaya director of Relations with the Basque Communities Abroad, accompanied by Andoni Martin of the same department. They will then continue on to Idaho where they will meet with representatives from various Basque clubs and organizations. Celaya was unable to attend the NABO festivities because of his prior commitments in the closing ceremony of the Gaztemundu program 2009, which united approximately fifty youth from the Basque Diaspora in Vitoria-Gasteiz for two weeks.

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