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World CU Conference Welcomes 2,376 Attendees To Canada
OTTAWA, Canada (7/16/13)--The World Council of Credit Unions welcomed 2,376 attendees from 61 countries at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa, Canada, Sunday evening for the opening ceremonies of its 2013 World Credit Union Conference.

Click to view larger image Daniel Burns, World Council of Credit Unions treasurer and chair of Credit Union Central of Canada, co-host of the World Credit Union Conference, welcomed attendees to Ottawa.
Through Wednesday, participants will network and learn from industry experts on topics such as mobile banking, social media and corporate leadership.

World Council Chair Manuel Rabines, general manager of Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito del Peru (FENACREP), the trade association serving Peru's credit unions, welcomed attendees to the event.

"During my travels here from Peru, I reflected upon the great differences that exist in this world that we share," Rabines said. "Despite those differences, there is a common denominator throughout--the credit union model. This model offers a variety of solutions to common problems and is continuously evolving."

Conference attendees also heard from Member of the Canadian Parliament and Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives Mauril Belanger, who spoke in English, French and Spanish and recognized the importance of the audience's international cooperative efforts.

Click to view larger image Flag bearers donned national attire to represent the 61 countries in attendance during the international parade of flags on Sunday at the World Credit Union Conference in Ottawa, Canada.
"I've come to believe credit unions are an element to the solution to some of the world's economic challenges," Belanger said. "The principles on which cooperatives are built offer real solutions to the vast and complex problems facing humanity."

"Canada's credit union movement began not far from here in 1900 when Alphonse Desjardins founded what has become one of the greatest credit union movements today. Around that time, he crossed paths with [Edward] Filene from the United States," Burns said. "It's so appropriate to have the conference here in Ottawa because it was the crossroads of credit union leaders in the past, and it is again today."

Click to view larger image Cirque Fantastic's performance officially kicked off the 2013 World Credit Union Conference Sunday in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Prior to Sunday's opening, the conference hosted several events, including the fifth annual Global Women's Leadership Forum on Sunday. A total of 114 women credit union leaders worldwide gathered to network, attend educational sessions and hear from keynote speaker Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of New York Times best-seller Half the Sky: Turning Opression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, who presented research from her book and participated in a panel discussion centered on advancement of women leadership in credit unions.

World Credit Union Conference co-host Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC) is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. World Council Treasurer Daniel Burns, CUCC chair, gave participants a brief lesson on Canada's cooperative history, which sparked growth in many other nations' credit union movements.

The conference concludes Wednesday with a closing reception at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
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