The people

Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) is an interdisciplinary studies centre in the field of the Social Sciences linked to the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and its campus of excellence (Euskampus). ALC works all over the world in partnership with the University of Columbia New York (The Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity – AC4) and George Mason University (School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution – SCAR).

Ione Ardaiz Osacar

Ione Ardaiz Osacar heads a number of social innovation projects in Agirre Lehendakaria Center. A specialist in co-creation and developmental research, she coordinates the work of Agirre Lehendakaria Center in the social innovation platform in Debagoiena2030 and is involved in the projects that ALC carries out in Colombia.

A graduate in Industrial Design Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Mondragón, she also holds aLaurea Specialistica Master’s in Product Design from the Polytechnic of Milan. She has also worked for a number of foreign companies. She worked on social innovation projects for the Australian Government and NGOs in The Australian Centre For Social Innovation, applying Service Design methodologies and processes to co-design programs and services with end users.

Ione Ardaiz Osacar has participated in the following publications and articles:

A paper presented in the “Co-creation and innovación in public services” working group in the Gigapp (Research Group on Governance, Administration and Public Policies) conference. October 2014.



Leire Cancio Orueta

Leire Cancio Orueta is the of transfer and knowledge management in Agirre Lehendakaria Center. She works in ethnographic research projects and carries out coordination tasks in the social innovation projects that ALC undertakes in Colombia.

She graduated in Economics and Business Studies from the University of Deusto and also holds a Psychology degree from the UNED. Leire has extensive experience in management, communication and marketing. Previously worked in Elhuyar, a body for the scientific dissemination and normalization of the Basque language, as general manager.



Gorka Espiau Idoiaga. Director

Gorka Espiau Idoiaga is the Director of Agirre Lehendakaria Center. Specialist in social innovation platforms. Visiting Professor at the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation 2016-2018 in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Montreal (CIRM-McGill University), Senior Fellow in the Young Foundation and a consultant in the Work4progress program of Fundación La Caixa. He is also a founder member of the Social Innovation Laboratory Koop (SILK).

A graduate in Journalism from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). he previously worked as an adviser in the Presidency of the Basque Government in the field of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence and was an active member of Elkarri, the social network for dialogue and understanding. Indeed, he is the author of a series of documentaries on the Basque conflict produced by Catalan TV, titled “Pluja Seca” and “Parlem els ulls”, among others.

Gorka Espiau Idoiaga has authored several articles and publications:

Social innovation:

Pintxo-pote garaia. Published in Berria. February 2020

Research Project Policy & Governance Innovation: Definitions and Examples in the climate space Southern Europe focus. December 2019. Mataix, C., Monge, F., Lopez Pablos, C., Espiau G., Olabarrieta, K.

Peace-making in Euskal Herria (the Basque Country):

Nuevas tendencias en la construcción de la paz. ICIP Catalonia. December 2010;

The Peace Processes in the Basque Country and Northern Ireland (1994-2006): a comparative. ICIP working papers. 2010/03;

Konpondu initiative. Citizens’ participation, a new political culture in a context of shared leadership. Diputación (Territorial Administration) of Gipuzkoa. 2008.

The Basque Conflict: New Ideas and Prospects for Peace Special Report 121. The United States Institute of Peace. April 2006.



Lierni Ezenarro Asla

Lierni Ezenarro Asla is the head of the economic-financial area of Agirre Lehendakaria Center. She also coordinates the International Agirre Program, which promotes the generation of knowledge around the Basque model in partnership with international universities. Lierni previously worked in the Basque Government Office in Chile, Peru and Colombia and with the Honorary Consul of Chile for the Basque Country, Navarra and La Rioja in Bilbao.

A graduate in Law from the University of Deusto, she also holds a Master’s International Relations, Security and Development from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She is currently studying a Master’s in Business Management from the perspective of Innovation and Internationalization at the University of the Basque Country.


Itziar Moreno De Castro

Itziar Moreno de Castro is the Project Director in Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC). She specialises in listening and evolutive evaluation processes, and is the coordinator of the digital area in open innovation platforms. She has also headed several ethnographic research projects undertaken by Agirre Lehendakaria Center. Itziar currently coordinates the consultancy work that ALC is providing to the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) in the field of Open Innovation platforms.

She graduated in Journalism from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and holds a Master’s Degree in Big Data and Digital Business. She started her career in the Communication Department of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Itziar Moreno de Castro has participated in numerous publications and articles:

Social Innovation



Karmele Olabarrieta Petuya

Karmele Olabarrieta Petuya is the coordinator of the knowledge dissemination area of Agirre Lehendakaria Center (management and coordination of publications/editing) and Open Akademia (organization and coordination of colloquia, talks and seminars for the dissemination of knowledge). She also coordinates the Future Leaders Training Program (training on the Basque model and future challenges in sustainable human development).

A Law graduate and holder of an MBA in Business Management from the University of Deusto. she previously worked in the citizens’ movement Gure Esku Dago for the right to decide as Coordinator of the Technical Secretariat. She also has extensive experience in communication and management in number of companies and entities.

Karmele Olabarrieta Petuya has participated in the following publications:

Research Project Policy & Governance Innovation: Definitions and Examples in the climate space Southern Europe focus. December 2019. Mataix, C., Monge, F., Lopez Pablos, C., Espiau G., Olabarrieta, K.



ALC Advisory Board:

Joshua Fisher

AC4 Director (Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity), Columbia University

Jayne Engle

Director, City Initiatives & Lead, for People at the McConnell Foundation

Stephen Ansolabehere

Frank G. Thompson Professor of Government at Harvard University

Matthew Clawdel

Head of Civic Innovation, MIT