MADISON, Wis.—Despite an ailing global economy, more than 1,100 credit union executives, officials and supporters will travel to Barcelona, Spain this week for World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) 2009 World Credit Union Conference, scheduled to run July 26 - 29. Attendees at this year's event represent 62 countries, the most diverse crowd to ever attend a WOCCU conference based in Europe.
Topping this year's speakers list will be keynoter Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico and long-time credit union supporter, who will take a close look at the current economy from a cooperative perspective. Successfully reaching new population segments will be the subject of a joint session led by Luis Pastor, president and CEO of Latino Community Credit Union, Durham, N.C., and Eric Dillon, COO of Servus Credit Union in Alberta, Canada. A group of six global financial regulators and policymakers will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO. Learning tracks for this year's breakout sessions include leadership and strategy, sustainability, finance and operations and relevant topics for developing credit union movements.
Special events at this year's conference include a day-long workshop for African savings and credit cooperative (SACCO) executives and officials; the international Regulators' Roundtable, a one-of-a-kind event drawing 28 participants from 13 countries this year; and the first-ever Global Women's Leadership Forum, an offshoot of the Global Women's Leadership Network launched earlier this year by WOCCU and Canada's Co-operative Development Foundation.
WOCCU also will hold its annual awards ceremonies during this year's conference to recognize individuals that demonstrate the true nature of the cooperative spirit. Honors include the Distinguished Service Awards, WOCCU's highest level of recognition given for lifetime contributions to the global cooperative movement, and the WOCCU Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) scholarship, an all-expense-paid trip to next year's WOCCU conference for five of the 18 international applicants participating in this year's WYCUP program.
The 2009 World Credit Union Conference is co-hosted by WOCCU, the Spanish Cooperative Bank and Spain's National Union of Credit Cooperatives.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.