Global Youth Cooperative Forum
The first Global Youth Forum, sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance, took place in Kuching, Malaysia from 3 to 7 February 2020 and saw the active participation, both among the trainers and participants, of young Legacoop Generations cooperators.
140 participants and 35 trainers from 109 countries in America, Asia, Africa and Europe. All young people under 35 that have in common the commitment that keeps them working daily for the promotion, development and dissemination of cooperation and cooperative principles at all latitudes.
The Minister of Youth Policy of Sarawak, Malaysia, and the President of Angkasa and Asean Cooperative Organization attended the opening of the meeting in the morning of the 3rd of February. ICA President Ariel Guarco stressed that the urgent need to build a more sustainable and people-friendly economic paradigm is the main reason why, today, the international cooperative movement represents the largest network of companies worldwide with over 1200 million members from 156 different countries. Phenomena such as the increase of informal work, new types of work, the growing importance of soft skills make the presence of young people in the cooperative movement and the possibilities given by cooperation for the new generations mutually important.
After the opening ceremony the young co-operators took part in the 10 training sessions that took place during the following three days. In total more than 100 90-minute training sessions, organized by topics: business models, environment, finance, IT and social media, leadership, management, people development, networking, social challenges, sustainable development.
The Forum ended with the participatory writing of the Global Agenda of Young Cooperators presented to the authorities during the closing ceremony. The "Youth Agenda for Advocacy" defines some concrete actions articulated on five areas of intervention: sustainable economy, digitization, collective actions, training and social issues.
Among the trainers selected by the Global Youth Forum, Francesca Martinelli, director of the Fondazione Centro Studi Doc, who led a workshop on cooperative platforms: "The Malaysian week at the Global Youth Forum 2020 was one of the best experiences of my life: 140 participants and 35 trainers 90% under 35 from 100 countries in the world worked together with the common goal of imagining and giving themselves the tools to build a better world through cooperation. It is always amazing to see how an idea can excite people even from completely different countries: it is a sign of the thirst that this world - young people in the front line - has alternative models to the dominant economic and political one. It is the thirst for models that are capable of guiding not only the brain but also the heart. Old friends and new in these days have shown me that throughout the world many young people not only dream, but are already working hard to achieve a fairer, more supportive and more inclusive world".
Among the trainers also Roberto Diana, COAGI Social Cooperative, who proposed an experiential workshop: "Music is a universal language that can connect people from all over the world. Through improvisations, compositions, listening and musical performances at the Global Youth Forum everyone was able to express themselves and understand the dynamics that regulate group work and the emotional dimension of behaviour".
Two Italian participants at the forum, including Vittoria De Luca, Generazioni Legacoop Puglia: "I'm thrilled to think that young people like me in every corner of the world believe in my own ideal and work with sacrifice and a lot of creativity to change things. Having had the chance to meet them, listen to their cooperative stories, exchange experiences and tools has certainly made me more aware of the role we can play". Finally, Paolo Rosato, Cooperativa Expeloo: "I was positively impressed by the way the trainings were made: fast but not superficial and very interactive. An ideal combination to maintain a high level of attention and bring home new knowledge and operational tools".
Generations, together with the young people of the Alliance of Cooperatives, has always supported participation in activities at European and global level. "The success of the forum, organized by young people for young people, and the beautiful experience that our group brought home from Malaysia - says Katia De Luca, Legacoop Generations Coordinator - show us that we have not been wrong, over time, to commit ourselves to give our contribution to international networks and to create connections with young cooperators at global level. The cooperative present - even before the future - is already made of exchange, networking and knowledge building with much wider boundaries than we are used to thinking about".