OTTAWA, Canada (7/15/13 UPDATED 11:45 am. CT)--The World Council of Credit Unions welcomed 2,376 attendees from 61 countries at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa, Canada, Sunday evening for the opening ceremonies of its 2013 World Credit Union Conference.
Through Wednesday, participants will network and learn from top industry experts on topics such as mobile banking, social media and corporate leadership.
World Council Chair Manuel Rabines, general manager of Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito del Peru (FENACREP), the trade association serving Peru's credit unions, welcomed attendees to the event.
"During my travels here from Peru, I reflected upon the great differences that exist in this world that we share," Rabines said. "Despite those differences, there is a common denominator throughout -- the credit union model. This model offers a variety of solutions to common problems and is continuously evolving."
Conference attendees also heard from Member of the Canadian Parliament and Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives Mauril Belanger, who spoke in English, French and Spanish, recognizing the importance of the audience's international cooperative efforts.
"I've come to believe credit unions are an element to the solution to some of the world's economic challenges," Belanger said. "The principles on which cooperatives are built offer real solutions to the vast and complex problems facing humanity."
World Credit Union Conference co-host Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC) is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. World Council Treasurer Daniel Burns, CUCC chair, gave participants a brief lesson on Canada's cooperative history, which sparked growth in many other nations' credit union movements.
The 2013 World Credit Union Conference concludes Wednesday with a closing reception at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.