14 June 2023
As part of the visit to Bilbao by the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation Human Rights Spain to present its "Speak Truth to Power" educational project, the organisation visited the University of Deusto. Under the leadership of the Rector, Juan José Etxeberria, and the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Gema Tomás, the two institutions will explore possible avenues of collaboration in the field of human rights.
The meeting, which took place on Wednesday 14 June, was also attended by the Director of the Human Rights Institute, Gorka Urrutia, and the Human Rights lecturers and researchers Gustavo de la Orden and David Fernández Rojo, as well as the Secretary General of Deusto, Stella Solernou, and the Director of the Library, Xole Galarraga.
During the visit, they took the opportunity to visit emblematic areas of the University and to show the delegation a book dedicated to the University by US Senator Edward Kennedy in April 1965, when he donated to Deusto an important batch of books for a section of the University Library named after Kennedy. At that time, the President's brother was on a trip to Spain, and it was during this tour that he heard the news that the University of Deusto had given John F. Kennedy's name to one of the sections of its library.
As a token of his gratitude and in order to collaborate with this collection, minutes before boarding the plane back to the United States, he handed over an important bibliographical collection to the University. At the simple ceremony, which took place at Madrid airport, Deusto was represented by the then Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, Carmelo Sáez de Santa María, as well as Fathers José Antonio Obieta and Luis Reizábal; the President of the Alumni Association of the University of Deusto in Madrid, Juan Maíz Zulueta, and the members of the Board, Luis Ortiz de Haza.
The so-called "Kennedy Library", which was curiously located in the current Lidón Room, where the meeting between the Foundation and Deusto took place, had its origins in a donation from the American House in Bilbao of books on American subjects, especially literature, which was set up as an independent section and named after the US President at the time. The Deusto Library has recovered some of the items from this donation and shown them to representatives of the RFK organisation.
Robert F. Kennedy Foundation
The RFK Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Washington DC, was created in 1968 by friends and family of Senator Robert F. Kennedy to promote his moral legacy and to realise his dream of a more just and peaceful world. Through a variety of programmes and intensive human rights awareness and education, the Foundation reaches out to future generations of women and men, mothers and fathers, students and workers. In 2018, RFK Spain was officially established after several years of successfully implementing its Speak Truth to Power programme, an international educational initiative dedicated to human rights training and awareness-raising.