The program of the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives is based on a detailed analysis of the current and future challenges faced by the cooperative movement. This is the first in a series of articles that will explore the Summit’s key themes. Cooperatives and mutuals in the global economy The opening theme of the Summit debates will be the role that cooperatives and mutuals play in the global economy. It will set the stage by providing an overview of the situation and highlighting the challenges and issues that the cooperative and mutualist movement faces today. Using the economy’s current state of transition and vulnerability as a starting point, this key theme will look at why cooperatives and mutuals have weathered these recent periods of turbulence much better than other business models and why they are part of the solutions that will get us out of the current economic crisis. It will also explore why, despite its resilience during times of crisis, the cooperative and mutualist business model remains relatively unknown and seldom researched or studied. Speakers and participants will be asked to discuss the role that cooperatives and mutuals currently play in today’s world and the role they ought to play. Presidents and CEOs of the world’s 300 largest cooperatives, which represent an economic power equal to the world’s 10th largest economy, will share their strategies and visions of the future of the cooperative and mutualist business model in relation to our global challenges. Three studies The role of cooperatives and mutuals in the global economy will also be covered in three groundbreaking and as-yet-unpublished studies on cooperatives and mutuals conducted in conjunction with the 2012 Summit. These studies will explore: The cooperative business model and its socio-economic influence (IRECUS) Major global trends and their impact on cooperatives and mutuals (McKinsey) Member and public perception of cooperatives and mutuals (IPSOS/Université du Québec à Montréal) You can also view the entire preliminary program of the 2012 Summit by clicking here.