Madison, WI-During the closing session of the 7th International CU Leadership Institute in the Bahamas, WOCCU's president and CEO, Arthur Arnold announced the launch of the new 2005 World Credit Union Conference to be held July 24 – 27, in Rome, Italy next year. The "eternal city" will provide a grand backdrop for the new format for World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)'s annual international event. The World Credit Union Conference, combines the best of the previous two WOCCU's meetings concepts— the triennial International Credit Union Forum and the International Credit Union Leadership Institute— to create the premiere gathering for credit union leaders worldwide. The 2005 World CU Conference will therefore have, quite appropriately, as theme The Best of Two Worlds.
WOCCU made the decision to combine the two events when it became clear over the last couple of years that the participant lists were converging and issues being addressed at the different conferences were becoming more similar. "As from 2005 onwards, there will be no more Leadership Institutes or Forums—instead every year a World Credit Union Conference, starting in 2005 in Rome Italy," Arnold concluded.
Rome is an ideal location choice for a meeting of such size and importance. Considered by many to be the birthplace of Western civilization, the 2,700 year-old city is home to a population of 2.65 million and some of the most spectacular ancient treasures in the world. Accommodations will be provided by the Cavalieri Hilton Hotel, situated near the Vatican. Alternative levels of conference housing will also be provided.
The 2005 World Credit Union Conference itself will feature an informative group of speakers, a variety of relevant breakout sessions and workshops, and many chances for networking and discussion. Topics and formats based will be chosen based on input from past Institute participants, being careful to retain everything of value from previous meetings, including this years successful Institute in the Bahamas.
As always, one component of the conference will be celebrating the achievements of the international credit union movement. At the largest gathering of credit union leaders in the world, that will be easy. A more challenging, but equally important aspect of the meeting will be examining current issues facing the credit union industry and looking for opportunities to grow, individually and as a movement. This is a challenge we are ready and eager to accept. Being in Italy, the commonalities and the differences between Credit Unions and Cooperative Banks in Europe, both financial cooperatives, will be further explored. At the request of credit union regulators, an extended program for the Regulators Round Table will be built into the program. More than ever World Council is continuing to incorporate young credit union leader paticipation—our next generation—in the conference program.
New for attendees of the 2005 World Credit Union Conference will be scholarships for participants from developing countries. In an effort to continue and increase representation of credit union leaders from developing countries at WOCCU's meetings, scholarships will be offered to defray the cost of the event and allow as much as possible diversity "at the international credit union table."
The conference takes place from July 24-27, 2005. For additional information or to fill out a registration form please visit our website at www.woccu.org.
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.