College Principal Mervyn Wilson on opportunities for ICA Human Resource Committee

IYC logoMervyn Wilson, Principal and Chief Executive of the Co-operative College, has returned from the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico, which he attended as Co-Chair of the ICA Human Resource Development Committee. It was an opportunity for networking and strengthening links with other global co-operative organisations, as well as finding out about co-operative areas across the world and the potential for developing further co-operative sectors in the UK.

Wilson called the General Assembly “quite remarkable”, saying: “The event was the biggest ever General Assembly, with nearly 2,300 participants – so big that it was seriously difficult to even find the people you wanted to speak to. As well as having a launch event that included messages from Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and Juan Somavia, the Director of the International Labour Organisation, Friday’s session included a presentation by the President in Mexico, who is clearly an immensely popular figure, despite the security issues surrounding the crackdown on the drugs cartels. He has a big commitment to supporting the very significant co-operative sector in Mexico.”

Wilson said: “We want to change the ICA Human Resource Committee into a more effective network of co-operative education and training institutions that is much broader, encompassing co-operative schools, university co-operatives and youth co-operatives, as well as training institutions. It will have stronger links to the ICA’s well established Research Committee, which has links with HE institutions.”

He continued: “This has now been universally accepted as the way forward, and we are planning a workshop as part of the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC)’s closing week’s events in Manchester next year to develop these ideas and learn more about these prospective sectors. I was particularly pleased to build links with the university co-operative sector – student organisations that run a wide range of services, from bookshops and cafes to student housing programmes.”

He concluded: “Perhaps most important of all is the growing recognition of the role the Co-operative College is playing in so many parts of the world. There will be a special General Assembly of the ICA alongside the Manchester closing week’s events next year, so it should provide a good opportunity to build on the international contacts that we have developed in recent years.”

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