AC4 Hosts former President of the Basque Government

IMG_5656On Friday, March 9, 2015, AC4 came together with the Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) and our collaborators to host a public seminar at Columbia University. For several years, AC4, ALC, and our partners at Seton Hall University, George Washington University, and Scensei LLC have been engaged in an investigation of the Basque Case of Sustainable Human Development from different disciplinary perspectives. By conducting rigorous, innovative research, we hope to refine and expand upon lessons from the Basque experience that can provide guidance to other societies pursuing sustainable human development (SHD).

Titled “Models of Sustainable Human Development: Lessons from the Basque Case”, the seminar allowed the project team to share the latest advancements in our research on aspects of SHD, while inviting others to engage with our work as it progresses. We were pleased to welcome attendees from the Basque Country, the Columbia University community, and other organizations, who offered a variety of valuable perspectives, thoughtful questions, and new ideas.

IMG_5683The seminar included updates on projects as diverse as mapping and analyzing narratives of the Basque peace process (Dr. Armando Geller, Scensei LLC), applying a Lonergan economic model to the Basque economy (Dr. Paul Hoyt-O’Connor, George Washington University), empirically modeling the connection between institutional characteristics and the pursuit of SHD (Dr. Josh Fisher and Kristen Rucki, AC4, Columbia University), and building narratives of transformation in Northern Ireland (Gorka Espiau, ALC). New endeavors were shared, including the creation of the Basque Research Team at Seton Hall University (Dr. Andrea Bartoli and Dr. Borislava Manojlovic, Seton Hall University) and the Sustainable Peace Systems Mapping Initiative at Columbia University (Dr. Peter Coleman and Kyong Mazzaro, AC4). Dr. Andrea Bartoli and Dr. Borislava Manojlovic also introduced several exciting new proposals for future research.

IMG_5636Lehendakari Dr. Juan Jose Ibarretxe set the tone for the day with his opening address on the Basque transformation, titled “How to Change a Country”. As I listened to Dr. Ibrarretxe speak and watched presentations of both existing research projects and new initiatives and proposals, I was reminded of what originally drew me to this project. The Basque Case and our related research on sustainable human development are grounded in a strong sense of optimism and possibility. This commitment to human potential and positive, sustainable change is a common thread that runs through each project, and it was evident in the atmosphere of Friday’s seminar. I am excited about moving forward with our collaborative research, and for the new developments that are to come.

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