The University of Newcastle, Australia

14th International Co-operative Alliance Asia Pacific Research Conference

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The Faculty of Business and Law welcome delegates to the 14th International Co-operative Alliance Asia Pacific Research Conference.

Dr. Sidsel Grimstad, Professor Morris Altman (co-chairs) (NBS) and Ann Apps (NLS) were the local members of the organising committee for the conference which was hosted at NuSpace in December 2019. This was the first time this conference had been held in Australia. Co-operative researchers and industry leaders from Australia and across the Asia Pacific gathered in Newcastle to discuss how co-operatives and mutuals across the region can work together to promote the co-operative model and ensure a flourishing and sustainable future in the region.

The conference welcomed more than 100 participants from 12 countries viz. Australia (60), Fiji (1), India (19), Indonesia (2), Japan (2), Kiribati (2), South Korea (2), Malaysia (2), Nepal (4), New Zealand (4), Timor Leste (1) and United Kingdom (2). Participants from academia, industry and community all came with a generous co-operative spirit and keen to share their experiences and to develop new networks and partnerships around co-operative research and education. 57 research papers were presented.

The conference was commended by the ICA-AP research committee for being innovative and inclusive. The conference hosted four industry panels, showcasing the 1) role of co-operatives in regional development, 2) providing innovative solutions for contemporary issues including waste, energy and poverty, 3) co-operation in education with our Pacific island neighbours, and 3) dairy co-operatives and sustainable development. Recordings of the industry panels are available on the conference website.

The conference was the first in this series to feature a Young Scholars Workshop. The Workshop partnered young scholars with senior co-operative scholars for tips and guidance in academic research and writing.  On the first day a side event was the 2nd ICA-AP Pacific Forum with Co-op Registrars from Fiji, and Kiribati and the CEO’s of peak bodies for co-operative and mutuals in Australia and New Zealand. Another side event was a meeting of members of the Asia-Pacific Cooperative Research Partnership to celebrate the launch of their forthcoming edited book: “Waking the Asian Pacific Co-operative Potential!” highlighting the Asia-Pacific co-operative experience and their contribution to sustainable development. Dr. Sidsel Grimstad was invited to join the Asia-Pacific Cooperative Research Partnership to pursue a second edited book with further case studies of co-operative and mutual enterprise in the Asia Pacific Region.

The conference proceedings including reviewed abstracts will be available as an open access document shortly. This publication will support awareness of co-operative research in academia and provide a record to encourage collaboration for future research projects linked to co-operatives and mutuals.

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