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The 42nd edition of the UPV/EHU Summer Courses has aroused interest in knowledge

The 42nd edition of the UPV/EHU Summer Courses (UIK) has been very well received. In a context of a growing digital offer, the Summer Courses demonstrate their strength as a great meeting and reflection point for Basque society. This edition aimed to attract young people and a diverse audience, and the objectives have been successfully met.

From the beginning of June to mid-September, 133 Summer Courses have been organised. In addition, 21 workshops, 13 online courses, 7 activities open to the public and 7 Donostia Sustainability Forum Dialogues have been scheduled throughout the year. 

A total of 9158 people took part in the 133 courses; in the workshops, 1977; in the long-term asynchronous online courses, 338; in the Donostia Sustainability Forum Dialogues, 903; and the rest of the open programmes were attended by 464 people. 

In total, this edition offered 181 activities in which 12,840 people took part.

This year, the focus was on encouraging the participation of young people. Youth participation is crucial for UIK and the initiatives undertaken with the aim of attracting more young people have been well received. Young people up to the age of 25 have benefited from discounted enrolment fees and their interests and concerns have been taken into account when planning courses. For example, successful courses such as the sailing trip of several days on board the training ship Saltillo, in which they learned about the sustainability of the oceans; or the fifth edition of the School of Environmental Communication organised in collaboration with IHOBE, which offered the course How to communicate environmental issues with and for young people.

Courses on highly topical issues that have dealt with issues of concern to society such as violence in football, juvenile delinquency and suicide, among others, also stand out. All of these courses have been very well attended.

As a novelty, this year we have offered courses based on experience that have been very well received, and we will take this into account when designing future editions. Firstly, the in situ course on the Irulegi Hand took place in its context, in Ilundain itself, and allowed those enrolled to visit the excavation site and learn about the latest developments; we also visited the Aezkoa valley to learn about the work to recover the communal land as a resource for the fight against depopulation in the Pyrenees; and with the Stars, gastronomy and mathematics course, this year for the first time we observed the Perseids while we broadened our knowledge of science and astronomy with the help of Jakiunde. We also visited the Barandiarán museum in Ataun to learn about José Miguel de Barandiarán's contribution to Basque Archaeology, Ethnography and Mythology, and as mentioned above, we sailed on the Saltillo training ship to look at the sustainability of the oceans.

The 2nd edition of the Cross-Border Summer Courses held in Bayonne brought together 1173 people and served to consolidate the project carried out in collaboration with the universities and institutions of the Euroregion of the Basque Country, New Aquitaine and Navarre. These Cross-Border Summer Courses are aimed at bordering citizens and aim to make visible the proactive role of universities in the creation of a cross-border space with better territorial cohesion, as has been achieved in other European economic and social cross-border areas. In this second edition, 12 courses were offered and a meeting was held between cross-border research laboratories. 

In addition to the on-site modality, the possibility of following the courses live online is turning the UIK offer into an international reference; thus, this year we have had participants from Germany, USA, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Mexico, Argentina, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, China and the Netherlands, among others.

At UIK we work as a team, in a network, creating community and taking advantage of synergies. In this edition we have broken a record by expanding the network of course collaborators to 300.

In terms of methodology, different courses have been used to experiment and put into practice different forms of participation. Among others, we highlight The public school, the focus on the person, led by HEIZE, which reached relevant conclusions on the Governance of the centres; the course on Sexualities in the key of women, which generated an atmosphere of great sensitivity and trust highly valued by the participants; Community action from the margins and absences and Transition towards inclusion: models and approaches to promote participation, self-determination and empowerment, which gave a voice and participation to people in situations of social exclusion. The latter three have been organised in collaboration with the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, within the framework of the TopaGune project. We will continue to explore these methodologies in greater depth in the future.

In terms of themes, this 42nd edition focused on nine major challenges: youth in the spotlight; focus on human rights; educational and linguistic future; quality of life; culture and art; sustainability; social economy; digitalisation and artificial intelligence.

The course Climate change, diet and gastronomy, carried out by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, highlighted the social dimension of diet in terms of the environment and sustainability, and was one of the most popular courses. Related to climate change, the course Forest fires, how to tackle them? aroused great interest given the number and severity of the fires we have suffered in many places during the summer.

The course Truth and recognition of victims of torture, organised in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Peace and Coexistence of the Basque Government, allowed for reflection on the measures and actions taken so far to enable the recognition and reparation of the group of victims of torture; the course held to analyse the current situation of international research on ways of interviewing children and adolescents who have suffered violence, Tell me what happened: Interviewing children and adolescents subjected to violence, also aroused great interest.

The areas of wellbeing and health have had a significant impact on the number of students, with the following courses being particularly noteworthy: the 10th International Congress on Digital Health, the course on addictions and the course on Mental Health with a gender perspective, in which work has been done on new masculinities.

Art and culture have a specific space at UIK. In collaboration with the Bilbao City Council, we have organised the second edition of the Kulturgest Bilbao cycle, aimed at people interested in cultural management, with an excellent reception by the students. Next year, we will organise a third edition that will culminate in a congress.

Other highlights were the third edition of the Eduardo Chillida School course, organised with the aim of furthering research into the artist's work and thought; the course on Benito Barrueta to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth and the course on Anjel Lertxundi: the writer and his work.

In order to deepen our knowledge, it is essential to build bridges between different people. And at UIK, diversity is a characteristic that we write in capital letters. As a meeting point for different people, we want to promote diversity in a general sense (course contents, profiles, age, gender and cultural perspective of the participants). Also in terms of linguistic diversity. The diversity of languages that are heard in our courses and the care and increase of the presence of Basque is a constant commitment of UIK.

Due to its function, UIK has the character of an observatory; thus, by identifying the needs of society, we are in constant transformation, detecting new trends and directing the offer in that direction. Our aim is to serve as a meeting point for dissemination and dialogue between the different areas of society, and we want the ideas, reflections and networks that arise in the Summer Courses to promote projects and provoke a transformation beyond the course. And to achieve this we are working in different ways, renewing the formats of the Summer Courses and the technological means for their dissemination.

Adapting to constant change is the key to the success of UIK's offer: collaboration with institutions and experts who are benchmarks in the field of knowledge; the programming of highly topical subjects of social interest; the consideration of a diverse target audience in terms of age, gender, academic and cultural level, and the application of technological resources and current methodologies to guarantee the transmission of knowledge are the secrets of UIK's success. In addition, the knowledge and experience of the programme committee, as a guarantee of quality of the UPV/EHU, and the careful work of the Foundation's team are essential.

We will soon proceed to organise the next edition. The deadline for receipt of proposals to create the programme of the Summer Courses 2024 will be extended during the month of November. From UIK we would like to invite all interested agents and people to participate.

Although summer is about to end, the UIK's programme continues throughout the year. In collaboration with Kutxa Fundazioa, we are going to carry out a new edition of Gazte Ekoliderrak. Likewise, during the first week of October, we will participate in the Passion for Knowledge programme, organised by the DIPC. We will offer long-term asynchronous online courses on new technologies and education, and we will have open activities within the Donostia Sustainability Forum, among others. A detailed programme can be found at

We would not like to end this edition without thanking the institutions that make up the Organising Committee of the UPV/EHU Summer Courses for all their support: the BBVA Foundation, San Sebastian City Council, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Basque Government. We would also like to thank Irizar, Osakidetza and the Department of Justice of the Basque Government for sponsoring the special cycles, as well as the directors and speakers of the courses and the students who have come to the place of knowledge, for the energy put into the dissemination of knowledge and the effort made. And, of course, thanks to the media and to the professionals who are dedicated to it, for disseminating the reflections and learnings of the Summer Courses.

Thank you all for your commitment to knowledge.

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