Today, co-operatives around the world will join together to launch the International Year of Cooperatives through live video feeds.
This website, the Global News Hub for co-operatives, will bring together live webcasts along with a stream of photographs and articles from the various country launches.
Ecuador will start the celebrations at 07.45 local time (12.45 GMT) from the Sheraton Hotel in Quito. The event will feature ministers of state and has been organised by the Ecuadorian Committee for the Promotion of International Year of Cooperatives.
In the United Kingdom, Co-operatives UK will be hosting a live broadcast with national newspaper the Guardian, which will be simulcast through the Global News Hub. The UK event will host a discussion between Dame Pauline Green, President, International Co-operative Alliance; Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK; Len Wardle, Chair, The Co-operative Group; Charles Leadbeater, economist and innovation thinker; and Li Chunsheng, Vice-President, All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives.
In Portugal, the development centre for co-operatives CASES, will host the official launch of the International Year at 5.00pm (GMT/local time). The opening speech will be given by Pedro Mota Soares, the Minister for Solidarity and Social Security. He will be joined by Eduardo Graça, President of CASES; Manuel dos Santos Gomes, President of CONFAGRI; and Jerónimo Teixeira, President of CONFECOOP.
In Canada (5.30 pm GMT), a national launch organised by the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité will take place in Ottawa, together with more than 12 other simultaneous regional events across the country. All locations will be linked by a live webcast. The webcast will include remarks by Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators (live from Calgary) and Monique Leroux, president and CEO of Desjardins (live from Lévis, Quebec) as well as the premiere of a co-operative musical work by the Montreal group Samajam, who will perform live in Ottawa.
Co-operatives Europe will be co-ordinating launches across continental Europe in Belgium, France, Italy and Bulgaria.
• Follow the International Year of Cooperatives launches live on the Global News Hub on 12 January: www.thenews.coop/2012launch