On 4/5 October, the International Raiffeisen Union (IRU) held its first physical gathering of Board & Presidium since the start of the pandemic. The meeting was hosted by Cera, the largest co-operative in Belgium and long-standing member of the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB), which was celebrating its 130th years anniversary in Leuven (Belgium).
The International Raiffeisen Union (IRU) is a worldwide voluntary association of national co-operative organisations, whose work and ideas are based on the example of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen and committed to the principles of self-help, self-responsibility, self-administration, and to the values of democratic member control (One member, one vote), honesty, openness, solidarity, liberality, as well as social responsibility.
The annual Board and Presidium’s meeting of the IRU took the opportunity to say goodbye to three deeply committed, long-standing board members, honouring at a special dinner their active involvement in promoting the co-operative movement, namely to Dr. Walter Rothensteiner, Dr. Hilmar Gernet, and Mr Etienne Pflimlin.
In his engaged dinner speech, Franky Depickere, President of the IRU declared: “I am all the more pleased that we could be here together today and bid farewell to three highly esteemed pioneers and colleagues from the IRU Presidium. Dear Walter, dear Hilmar, and dear Etienne, we have experienced a lot together over the past years, almost decades. Today, we would like to say goodbye to you, dear colleagues, who have been a part of the IRU Presidium for many years. I would like to thank you for your passionate support of the IRU and the co-operative cause.”
Nina Schindler, EACB Chief Executive Officer, thanked Franky Depickere for having welcomed her in the group of high-ranking representatives of the IRU Board and Presidium, and expressed: “The three persons of honour were deservedly awarded with special certificates of appreciation issued by IRU in recognition of their dedicated support and achievements. With their engagement they proved their dedication to the core co-operative principles, which form the basis of the co-operative banking business model, bringing added-value to the economy, as well as society as a whole.”