An ICA General Assembly is more than just ceremonies and sessions: it’s also an opportunity for the ICA to announce a wide variety of new initiatives. Today’s announcements included:
- The launch of the ICA’s new website, www.2012.coop. This attractive and dynamic site, designed especially for the International Year, will ultimately replace the text-heavy and static ica.coop site. I know that a lot of work went into the creation of this site: congratulations to ICA for a job well done!
- The launch of another IYC2012 website, www.stories.coop. This is a joint project of ICA and EURICSE, the European Research Institute on Co-operative and Social Enterprises. The site describes itself as “the world’s first global digital campaign to spread the benefits of co-operation through the tradition of storytelling.” and contains co-op success stories from all over the world. Starting in late November, co-operators will have an opportunity to upload their own co-op stories, which will be considered for selection as one of 366 feature stories that will run on the site during the International Year.
- The unveiling of the winning poster in ICA’s International Year of Co-operatives poster contest. The poster was designed by a co-op: the Collage-No design firm in Valencia, Spain. According to the ICA’s news release, the winning design was produced in a co-operative way, with each artist designing a different section using different techniques on a piece of paper folded into three, without being able to see what each other had created. I’m still trying to get an electronic version so I can show it to you here; if I do, you’ll see it in this space. Collage-No will receive US $3,500 for winning the contest.
- The launch of the ICA’s Coop’Art competition: an arts competition for young people ages 16-35 (I guess I don’t qualify!). There are three categories: photography, video and music, and the works created should have something to do with the co-operative principles. The young artists can submit their work through the 2012.coop website, and there are some big prizes to be won: first prize in each of the three categories is US $3,000 and a trip to the World Co-operative Forum in Manchester, U.K. in November 2012.
- The announcement — and this isn’t a big surprise — that Dame Pauline Green, president of the ICA, will chair the United Nations Advisory Group on the International Year of Co-operatives. This U.N. body will provide advice and assistance to the U.N. coordinating committee in implementing the mandate and objectives of the International Year. The Advisory Group is made up of 20 co-operators from around the world, including Monique Leroux, president and CEO of Desjardins.
On tap for tomorrow: a plenary session in the morning, including a speech by the president of Mexico; in the afternoon, ICA’s elections and business meeting. And in the evening, the closing gala dinner.
– Donna Balkan