Network of the Universities of Americas in studies on cooperatives and associations
The uniRcoop Network is the most significant regrouping of professors and specialized researchers on the cooperative and associative phenomena of the Americas with 22 member universities from 15 American countries.
The Network's general objective is to establish a durable and dynamic link on research, education and services to the community between the Universities in the Americas in one hand and in the other hand between the Universities and the cooperatives in the Americas in order to contribute to the development of cooperativism in the Americas.
Site of convergence of the cooperative knowledge
• Development of intercooperation models
• Joint education
• Training made to measure
• Adapted collective services
• Scientific magazine uniRcoop
• International seminars
For close to ten years now, researchers from the four corners of the Americas have come together to work side by side in a unique network. With 19 member universities in 15 countries, as well as three observer universities, this network forms the most important grouping of professors and research personnel specializing in the cooperative and associative phenomenon of the Americas. The research personnel who established this network did so intent on creating a special forum where the cooperative paradigm could be reflected upon and its message disseminated. In order to achieve this, UniRcoop has strived to become an interactive, lively and lasting link between the universities and cooperative movements of the Americas, and thus, further the development of cooperatism in order for it to better prepare itself to face the challenges of the new millennium. Those involved with the Network, professors and research personnel, draw from a combined expertise in cooperative matters, as seen from managerial, sociological, developmental, educational, anthropological or economic viewpoints.
The UniRcoop network is supported by a project of cooperating universities called “Models for inter-cooperation of the Americas,” funded within the framework of the “University Partnership in Cooperation and Development (UPCD)” program, Phase 1, of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Financial support for the five-year project launched in April 2002 will end in June 2007. Through the improvement of inter-cooperation in the Americas, the project promotes the education and development of cooperatives as means for dealing with developmental issues.
Specifically, the “Models for Inter-cooperation of the Americas,” comprises five partner- and 14 associate-universities from 15 countries of the Americas. Throughout the project, the five main universities, the Universidad de Costa Rica, Universidad Federal Rural de Pernambuco (Brazil), Universidad de Chile (Chile), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) and the Université de Sherbrooke (Canada), sought to enable the local population of various countries in the Americas, by way of their cooperatives, to cooperate with greater economical, social, and environmental efficiency, and in so doing, improve their quality of life.
The project targets both universities and cooperatives. It reaches teachers, students and those involved in the cooperative movement in the Americas. The set target of the partner universities project is to increase the capability for workplace networking, and to develop and share models of inter-cooperation. In regard to cooperatives, the project seeks to increase the capacity for creating and distributing the wealth of cooperatives in participating countries through inter-cooperation.
All UniRcoop member universities offer specialization in cooperatism or in the phenomenon of associatism within their structures by way of either university programs, institutes or research centres. The Network is divided into five regions. The member universities of each region are as follows:
North America and the Caribbean
Université de Sherbrooke (Canada)
Universidad Autónoma de Chapingo (Mexico)
Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro (Mexico)
Universidad de la Habana (Cuba)
Université de Moncton (Canada)
Universidad de Costa Rica (Costa Rica)
Universidad de El Salvador (San Salvador)
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (Honduras)
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (Ecuador)
Universidad Central de Venezuela (Venezuela)
Southern Cone Southern Region
Universidad de Chile (Chile)
Universidad de la República (Uruguay)
Universidad Nacional de la Plata (Argentina)
Southern Cone Northern Region
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco (Brazil)
Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Brazil)
Universidade Federal do Paraná (Brazil)
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
The project’s five partner universities form the UniRcoop Network steering committee.
The committee’s role, on the one hand, is to oversee the planning, the follow-up and the analysis of the results obtained within the parametres of the project, and, on the other hand, to coordinate the activities of associate universities within their respective regions.
Central to the activities of the UniRcoop Network is the work of the academic committees. These committees, comprising at least three professors from at least two countries, seek to jointly develop applied research and training activities with cooperatives. The aim is to encourage networking in the work place, the development of models for inter-cooperation, and, ultimately, to share the acquired expertise with the cooperatives.
The Network publishes an annual report containing articles written in many languages, stemming, for the most part, from the work of the academic committees. Issues are distributed to all UniRcoop member universities, and can also be viewed free of charge at our Internet site at: www.unircoop.org
The UniRcoop International Seminar, a yearly event hosted by a member university, affords researchers, students and Network associates the opportunity to share the fruits of their cooperative experiences and work. The Seminar normally draws approximately one hundred participants, member university representatives, steering committee members, guest-speakers, students and network associates from 15 countries of the Americas.
On a technological level, the Network maintains a Web site, which acts as a window on the activities of the academic committees and events from the world of cooperatism. The site also offers a dedicated extranet option for network members, which, in turn, grants access to various e-work functions (document drop). Moreover, the steering committee foresees a yearly budgetary allowance for the purchase of technological material for UniRcoop Network member universities, in order for them to improve their networking and training capabilities.
A variety of inter-cooperative activities are also organized. Each year, student bursaries are made available in all member universities. The member universities of each region are free to choose the type of activities they will organize for the students, whether student exchange programs between various countries, grants for specific interventions, practical training, or grants for sitting on multi-national academic committees. Furthermore, the project funds master’s degree bursaries to allow certain students to pursue higher education at another university.
The Network also organizes various activities to raise public awareness in Canada, the most important of which is the making of a DVD about the project to demonstrate the link between universities and cooperatives, and to show the improved living conditions resulting from the action of professors with cooperatives.
Each region also makes budget allocations for regional meetings where inter-cooperative activities are organized, whether seminars, conferences, or meetings that seek to develop synergy between the universities of the region.
The professors and researchers of the UniRcoop Network involved in the development of cooperatism are a dynamic and dedicated group of individuals. Over the years, they have attained a high quality of expertise and knowledge in regard to research, training and acquired expertise in the field of inter-cooperation. The present challenge consists in developing greater cooperation between the cooperatives themselves, and maximizing the transfer of expertise to cooperatives and associates, which are precisely the objectives we pursue.