It is almost time for another celebration! With the 125th anniversary of the ICA behind us, next week we celebrate the 25thanniversary of ICA’s Statement on the Cooperative Identity. In 1995, attendees of the 31st ICA World Cooperative Congress in Manchester witnessed an event that, for the first time, explicitly defined cooperatives, identified our shared values and added the 7th cooperative principle we all have come to know and identify with: Concern for Community. This was the culmination of hard work and collaboration between members from all over the world to protect and promote the cooperative model that enables us to meet the socioeconomic needs and aspirations of our members and the communities we serve.
Many of us, especially those who have been part of the cooperative movement for decades, consider the cooperative identity (definition, values and principles) a part of who we are and how we live. It is also the basis and foundation to cooperatives’ contribution to solving many global crises and challenges we face today and in the future.
To examine and deepen our cooperative identity, the ICA and the Co-operative College UK are organizing two unique online events to mark this anniversary. Delivered under the banner of Cooperative Conversations, this two-part series will feature live discussion with cooperators from different parts of the world, many of whom worked in earnest to help elaborate the Statement on the Cooperative Identity, including its definition, its cooperative and ethical values, and its seven cooperative principles. These two events will also serve as a pre-event in the run-up to the 33rd World Cooperative Congress to be held next year on the theme of the cooperative identity.
We’ll also hear from advocates who tirelessly promote the cooperative identity as crucial to solving today’s global challenges and young cooperative leaders who are spreading the message to a new generation, energizing our global movement and ensuring its continuation and development.
The first conversation, titled Looking Back for a Stronger, Brighter Future, will explore how the seven cooperative principles came to be and the significance of the global context at the time. It will also explore the impact this context had on the cooperative movement then, and crucially how the cooperative movement today could shape the future. This conversation will be held on Monday, September 21st from 1300 – 1500 CEST.
The second conversation, titled The Impact of the Cooperative Identity on Regulation, will examine the impact of the cooperative identity statement on cooperative regulation at the national and international level. This conversation will be held on Tuesday, September 22nd from 1300-1500 CEST.
hese two events are designed to encourage dialogue and engaging conversations between speakers. To help make this event a success, I encourage you to click here to register on the Co-operative College UK’s website, read the speaker bios, and download the Concept Paper on the 25th Anniversary, so you can be well informed, and participate by submitting questions in advance.
This double event is a very good opportunity to be better acquainted with, and reflect upon the cooperative identity, and participate in the debate on how this identity is fully in tune with the times we are living right now. It will also be a good introduction to next year’s World Cooperative Congress “Deepen our Cooperative Identity”.
ICA Director General
You can also download the Concept Paper on the 25th Anniversary here.