We promote Social Innovation Platforms

to contribute to the new transformation of Basque society

Agirre Lehendakaria Center was established in 2013 by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in partnership with AC4-Columbia University in New York.


The socioeconomic transformation experienced by Basque society over the last decades is valued as a collective, democratic and local response to highly complex situations. The main contribution of ALCk during this period was to document this experience and to turn it into a Social Innovation and democratization approach which supports processes of territorial transformation across more than 10 countries. These partnerships with the United Nations System, the European Commission, La Caixa Foundation or Iberdrola helps us continue the process of transforming the society towards a truly sustainable development model.

Our history

Agirre Lehendakaria Center/Foundation (ALC) celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2023. Created in 2013 by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in collaboration with AC4-Columbia University of New York, the main objective of the center has been to deepen the socioeconomic transformation experienced by Basque society in recent decades as a collective, democratic and local response to situations of great complexity. The projects we develop at the international level allow us to continue learning in order to contribute to the next Basque transformation.

In the first period, we focused on researching and providing a scientific basis for K, with the hypothesis that only from this perspective could we understand the Basque experience. We understand K as the system of beliefs and values that define us as a society - our origins, who we are, the way we think, what moves us and the reasons. In short, it is everything that has contributed to our worldview. ALC's main contribution during this period was to document our experience and turn it into a Social Innovation approach.
In a second period, we have focused on experimentation and support of territorial transformation processes in more than 15 countries. Alliances in the Basque Country, as well as with the United Nations System, the European Commission, La Caixa Foundation or Iberdrola have helped us to systematize community transformation processes following the Basque model through Social Innovation Platforms, based on the culture (K) narratives and values of each community as a driver of change.
In this third phase, our main objective is to begin to transfer our learning about the transformation of systems and the tackling of complex challenges to the issues that Basque society needs to address: digital transition, socio-ecological transition and the deepening of democracy, with all that these axes encompass (demographic changes, feminism, the use of the Basque language, education, the care system, health and the future of work, among others).

These are global challenges, not only Basque, so we understand that in the medium term the Basque Country can strengthen its international position by offering itself as a space for experimentation to address complex challenges. This allows, on the one hand, to attract and test solutions from all countries and regions interested in innovating in all these areas; and on the other hand, to generate learning to strengthen the Basque response to these challenges, from a community model of sustainable human development.


ALCK fosters community transformation processes through open, Social Innovation Platforms based on culture as a driver of change. Our primary objective is to apply the lessons learned from our research on systems transformation to address complex challenges that society is facing. The key element is the integration of culture, narratives and values from each community toward a holistic vision of Sustainable Human Development.


Our differential element is the K.

K (Kultura in the Basque Language) = The system of beliefs and values that define us as a society — our origins, who we are, the way we think, what moves us and the reasons why. In short — it is our roots and all that has contributed to our world views.



Senior Fellows

International Research Fellowship Programme


Agirre Lehendakaria Center annually announces international research fellowship programme for working professionals.

The aim of this fellowship is to foster education, research and practical training, as well as to promote and disseminate the Basque model of human development, both objectives of ALC in a manner consistent with its status as a Basque Laboratory for Social Innovation.

These are the fellows who have participated in the programme to date.

Trust of Agirre Lehendakaria Center

Currently, the Board of Trustees of the Agirre Lehendakaria Center Foundation is made up of these people.

Juan Jose Ibarretxe. President / Chairman  

Amaia AgirreVice president

Txus Peña. Treasurer 

Gorka Espiau. Secretary

Aritz Otxandiano. Member

Paul Ríos. Member

Miren Onaindia. Member

Jon Mirena Landa. Member  

Nekane Balluerka. Member

Usoa Agirre. Member