12 Apr 2018
The International Co-operative Alliance pays tribute to its former Director General Bruce Thordarson who passed away on April 1, aged 69. Mr Thordarson took on the role in 1988 and acted as Director General until 2001, having previously served as its Head of Development and Associate Director.
In a letter to members, the current Director General, Bruno Roelants, said: “Bruce Thordarson was associated with our organization for many years and was an excellent person to work with. He was a tireless, dedicated and enthusiastic co-operator even in the most testing times for the recognition of the global cooperative movement by international institutions.”
Mr Thordarson's time in the post saw him take a leading role in the drafting of the Statement on the Co-operative Identity, which was released in 1995.
Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, on 14 April 1948, Mr Thordarson studied at the University of Saskatchewan, and later at Carleton University, Ottawa. He published books on Canadian political leaders Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson.
Before joining the Alliance, he served as director of government affairs at the Canadian Cooperative Credit Society ( 1976-1979), and executive director at the Cooperative Union of Canada, (1979-1985), alongside roles for the Canadian government.
Later in his career, Mr Thordarson carried out consultancy work for the Canadian Co-operative Association in Indonesia and Vietnam.
He served on the board of the Funeral Co-operative of Ottawa from 2012 to 2015. A statement on the co-op’s Facebook page said: “He will be remembered as a remarkably staunch advocate for co-operatives all around the world. Virtually Bruce’s whole career was spent working with co-ops.