The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has welcomed Dr Harkaitz Zubiri Esnaola from the University of the Basque Country under the Alan R. King Etxpare Fellowship. Each year the fellowship, named after the linguist Alan Roy King, gives the opportunity to academics from the Basque Country to visit Wales to conduct research and contribute to the exchange of ideas and learning in the fields of sociolinguistics and language policy. The partnership was established between The University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Basque Etxepare Institute in 2022. The aim of the partnership is to strengthen the academic connections between Wales in the Basque Country in the areas of language policy and planning.
Dr Harkaitz Zubiri teaches in the Education, Philosophy and Anthropology department at the University of the Basque Country and specialises in education and language acquisition in the context of the Basque language. He will spend six weeks in the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth and will hold several events on the Basque language and linguistic factors at play in the Basque Country.
Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, said:
‘This is the second year that we have welcomed a scholar from the Basque Country to the Alan R. King Chair in Residence in Sociolinguistics, as part of the special partnership between the University and the Etxepare Basque Institute. Dr Harkaitz Zubiri’s expertise in Basque medium education is particularly timely for us in Wales. We particularly look forward to his lecture at the National Library and to the other elements in his work programme in sociolinguistics, language policy and planning to strengthen the link between Wales and the Basque Country. ‘
Dr Harkaitz Zubiri Esnaola said:
‘The field of education can play a crucial role in ensuring equal access to language learning for everyone. A priority challenge is to identify which educational actions make this possible. While immersion models are very supportive, they may not guarantee success for all students. By examining the status of languages such as Basque and Welsh in educational settings and exchanging relevant research findings oriented to social impact, we can better address this challenge. The Alan R. King Chair offers us an excellent platform for this endeavour, and we are already making the most of this opportunity.’
Dr Harkaitz Zubiri will give his first lecture on Thursday 26 October 2023 at 5:00 in the National Library of Wales. The lecture is titled: ‘Making Basque accessible to all: exploring successful actions aimed at effective teaching and learning the language in schools’. The event is free and you can arrange to attend in person or via Zoom link by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.