Celebrating 125 Years

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A foundation for the future

The achievement in forming the ICA 125 years ago and the continued strength of the cooperative model is a testament of its relevance and contribution & around the world. New forms and kinds of cooperatives are being invented all the time. Social cooperatives, a noteworthy and impactful experiment in itself, were invented in Italy in the late 1970s, and are now extending all over the world. We have recently seen the emergence of freelancers’ cooperatives, community cooperatives, and different types of multi-stakeholder cooperatives around innovative cooperative entrepreneurial models. It is clear that new forms of cooperatives will continue to emerge as the socio-economic needs of human beings evolve and common aspirations manifest into a collective will to build a better world.

Today, the ICA represents 313 member organisations in 110 countries - more than at any time in these 125 years. 

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The cooperatives’ future is bright

The cooperative model has often been depicted as being old-fashioned and tedious. It actually hinges itself on the 5th cooperative principle: Education, Training and Information, in particular of members, staff, public at large and youth. With the emergence of technology and the youth’s leadership in global issues, there is a renascent and vibrant interest towards the cooperative model, globally. This was particularly tangible during the recent cooperative Global Youth Forum, in February 2020 in Malaysia. Global citizenship is growing among the youth who are determined to actively and tirelessly bring attention to the environmental crisis, growing economic inequalities, and diehard social discrimination. The cooperative model continues to be increasingly relevant with the youth, as it is serving as one of the privileged channels through which people can democratically organise and ensure the satisfaction and management of their common economic, social, cultural and environmental needs. It is through the youth and their leadership today that the cooperative model can be an agent of social transformation and work steadily and concretely towards the sustainable development of the communities and towards positive peace.

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More material

Below are PDF files available for viewing and downloads:

  • ICA: 125 years, 4 voices. Extended conversations with cooperators from the 125th anniversary video.
  • Our legacy and the future. An international perspective from three global cooperative icons. 
  • Testimonies. Eight countries sent delegates to the first ICA Congress. Read why these countries continue to play an important role.  

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