Ateak ireki program

The inspiration for Ateak Ireki comes from the “Boise-Oñati” exchange of the 1970s when the Boise State University’s Basque Studies department took Idaho students to Oñati, Gipuzkoa to immerse them in daily life and learning in the Basque Country.

The stays in Oñati of the young people who came from America, awakened the instinct of the Basque Community of Boise today.This pioneering program demonstrated what possibilities can result from expanding the concept of the Basque community beyond the Basque territories of Europe.

With Ateak Ireki, we seek to spark lifelong connections and friendships to grow and strengthen the the Basque Community of the future.

The Boise State Basque Studies Program that began in 1974, that brought over 100 youth from Boise to Oñati over the following seven years, resulted in many well-known Basque diaspora projects, community leaders and even marriages between those who met while participating in the program. 

Among others, the young Dave Bieter was one of those who took part in the original Oñati-Boise program. Dave came to Euskal Herria at the age of fourteen and today, 46 years later, he is one of the most well-known champions the Basque diaspora in the American West as he recently served as the Mayor of Boise for the past sixteen years during which he even shared the story of his family and many of our Basque ancestors with President Obama.

It is time to broaden the “Boise-Oñati” exchange into a program for the entire Basque Diaspora of the United States. Imagine how many personal and professional relationships that will grow as a result. Currently, this opportunity is being missed. We feel that by working together to reestablish youth exchanges, Ateak Ireki is the answer.


This program will have short term measurable success guided by the following long-term objectives:

  • To build awareness and open doors in homes within the Basque Country for the youth from the Basque Community of the Diaspora.
  • Support ongoing knowledge and learning of the evolving realities for Basques in the Basque Country and in the diaspora, especially among the youth.
  • To further develop these annual exchanges to ultimately include youth from all over the world to Euskal Herria to get to know the Basque Community.