Asia Pacific Co-operative Research Conference

Co-operative specialists from the Center for Research and Communication helped shape the future direction of international co-operatives research, at the first Asia Pacific Co-operative Research Conference in Bangkok, Thailand from February 5 to 7, 2015. CRC’s participation in this forum was one of the initiatives of the Leo Parma-Asiapro Professorial Chair for Social Entrepreneurship, whose Professorial Chair holder is Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas.

Professorial Chair grantor Leo G. Parma and Alejandro Lukban of the Philippine Workers’ Co-operatives Association presented their experiences and innovations as pioneers in the Philippine workers’ co-operative movement. UA&P’s Bienvenido Nito and University of Sydney’s Dr. Anthony Jensen proposed research directions through country collaborations in areas where conference participants and their respective institutions are most engaged: agriculture (Korea, India, and Vietnam), consumer co-operatives (Japan, Singapore, and Indonesia), workers’ co-operatives (Philippines, Australia, and Japan), and credit (Thailand, Philippines, and Australia). Romulo Villamin of Mindanao’s MASS-SPECC Co-operative Federation gave a talk on “Addressing the Gaps in Co-operative Development in the Philippines”.

Organized through the initiative and personal advocacy of researchers and co-operative practitioners from various countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the conference brought together 22 representatives from Australia, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. Special guests included H.E. Paul Robilliard, Australian Ambassador to Thailand; Balu Iyer, Regional Director for Asia of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA); and Ms. Kruewan Chonlanai, manager of Thailand’s Central Finance Facility Department.

A working committee composed of proponents from Australia, the Philippines, India, and Japan will build on a peer-reviewed proposal for a five-year project which will be submitted to potential funders.  A second meeting in May will be organized to concretize plans and progress on co-operatives research.

Text by Ernest Marc Castillo, School of Economics