Madison, WI – Irishman and former politician John Hume has spent his life advocating for the rights of the "common man". At the 2006 World Credit Union Conference in Dublin, Ireland, he will receive this year's Distinguished Service Award in recognition for his work in promoting the credit union movement in Ireland.
Hume's credit union work began at the age of twenty-three, when he and a few friends founded the Derry Credit Union – the first in Northern Ireland – with less than £10. Within four years, Hume was named president of the Irish League of Credit Unions. He later sat on the board of CUNA International (a precursor to WOCCU) and is the only current life director of the Irish League Board. Hume was instrumental in developing the links between WOCCU, CUNA and the Irish League of Credit Unions.
In addition to his credit union work, Hume was a leading figure in Ireland's civil rights movement in the 1960s. He is the only person in history to have won the three biggest peace awards in the world: the Nobel Peace Prize (of which he was the Catholic co-winner with Protestant David Trimble for fostering peace in Northern Ireland), the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award. He will be the second Nobel Peace Prize winner in four years to attend this year's WOCCU Conference.
Though he was one of the key contributors to Northern Ireland's peace process, Hume publicly acknowledges that his greatest accomplishment was establishing Northern Ireland's credit union movement. As a distinguished speaker at the 2001 Annual WOCCU International Conference in Killarney, Ireland, he spoke about credit unions' important humanitarian role in today's world.
"Credit unions lay the foundations of new societies built upon strength, equalizing humanity throughout the world," Hume said.
World Council's Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor paid to individuals and institutions by the worldwide credit union movement, recognizing outstanding contributions to international credit union development. It is awarded at the annual World Credit Union Conference. Last year's recipients were Gerry Foley, former WOCCU board chairman, and the Roman Catholic Church. The 2006 World Credit Union Conference in Dublin, Ireland, will be from July 27-30, 2006. To save on registration fees, sign up by May 19, 2006. Visit WOCCU's website for more information and to register: http://www.woccu.org/dublin06/welcome/ .
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 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.