The President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev opened the Induction Session of the Board of the International Cooperative Alliance which is part of series of strategic sessions taking place in Sofia between March 7 and March 9, hosted by ICA member the Central Cooperative Union (CCU). Leaders of national cooperative organizations from 21 countries appointed as Board Members from all ICA regions - Asia-Pacific, Americas, Europe and Africa attended the meetings.
'It is a genuine privilege for me to attend the session of this Board - the Board of one of the most progressive and socially oriented movements in the world. The Global Cooperative Movement not only endured through the tumultuous processes of globalization of the economy. It also proved that it can be indeed sustainable and a true social model. The International Cooperative Alliance is a good example of this,' said President Rumen Radev in his opening address. Mr. Yavor Gechev, Minister of Agriculture also attended the opening session.
"We had a very fruitful series of meetings in Sofia, where we were also received in an extraordinary way by the Bulgarian cooperative movement and had the honour of being visited by President Rumen Radev. In this first meeting of the year, the Board has done a great job during the three days in Sofia, setting an agenda that will allow us to continue integrating and strengthening our Identity in the global scenario", said the President of the ICA, Ariel Guarco.
The President of the CCU Prof. Petar Stefanov highlighted the key priorities for the CCU including building upon the achievements to date and further reinvestment. 'Our success is largely due the fact that we stood undivided. However, we cannot go forward unless we focus on the young and unless we engage them more actively in the governance of the cooperative organizations,' stressed Prof. Stefanov.
The strategic sessions in Sofia allowed attendees to actively discuss issues of significance for the public, to exchange experience and seek ways to further strengthen the joint efforts for a more dynamic, fairer and balanced model.
The delegation visited the Pilot COOP Store located on the premises of the CCU head office at 99, G. S. Rakovski St in Sofia. The outlet uses only new-generation e-labels and advanced retail information systems. ICA Board members also got acquainted with the most recent developments in "Zdrave" Cooperative Specialised Rehabilitation Hospital, Bankya, the cooperative company "Bulminveks", Gorna Banya, the COOP Trade-Logistics Centre in Sofia and took a deeper look into the Bulgarian history at the National Cooperative Museum..
You can find a selection of pictures here.