Mervyn 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.”
Keep up to date with the IYC at www.2012.coop.
Find out more about the ICA Expo, which will take place in Manchester from 31 October-2 November, at www.icaexpo.coop.