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WOCCU urges CUs to prep for International Year of Co-ops
MADISON, Wis. (11/24/10)--World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is urging credit unions to play a visible role during the United Nations’ International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) in 2012. The year-long initiative will begin with a kick-off at the end of October 2011 at the U.N.’s New York City headquarters. Under the theme, “Co-operative enterprises build a better world,” IYC is designed to raise public recognition of cooperatives’ socio-economic impact worldwide, especially among young adults whose personal values coincide with cooperative principles. Organizers hope the higher levels of public recognition will promote forming new cooperatives and foster legislative and regulatory environments conducive to cooperative formation and growth. “In the wake of the global economic recession, the cooperative model has again proven its worth,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. “The U.N.’s designation of 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives is both an honor and an opportunity not only for credit unions, but for cooperatives of all types.” Organizers met at the U.N. earlier this month and are establishing an advisory group and a full-time New York-based U.N. secretariat responsible for managing the development and promotion of IYC activities. The committee will seek financial support from cooperatives and other stakeholders. An IYC logo is in development, with an unveiling expected in the first quarter of 2011. As a model of economic enterprise, cooperatives promote both democratic and human values, and a respect for the environment, said WOCCU. They are autonomous associations of people united voluntarily to meet common economic, social and cultural needs through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises. Cooperatives are driven by seven principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation; and a concern for the community. “We’re encouraging credit unions and cooperatives everywhere to capitalize on the opportunity to raise awareness of the value cooperatives offer to their communities,” Crear said. “This is a rare opportunity for all of us in the business of serving members to gain a high level of global recognition, both for the benefit of our own institutions and for the cooperative movement worldwide.”
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