International experts visit the region of Ponent (western Catalonia) to learn about the Catalan cooperative model

Representatives of cooperativism from Portugal, Argentina, the Czech Republic, and Greece visited the municipalities of Ivars d'Urgell and Tàrrega

Catalonia International organized an International Visitors Program (IVP) with the participation of several foreign personalities interested in the Catalan cooperative model. This initiative, registered within the framework of the Congress of Cooperativism of Catalonia, allowed attendees to closely understand the impact and importance of cooperatives in Catalonia and their contribution to economic and social development. The program took place in the counties of Pla d'Urgell and Urgell.

Among the participants were the president of the Confederation of Cooperatives of Catalonia, Guillem Llorens; the Head of Inequality and Private Sector at Oxfam Intermón, Miguel Alba; the president of the International Cooperative Alliance, Ariel Enrique Guarco; the deputy mayor of the Portuguese municipality of Torres Vedras, Ana Umbelino; the CEO of Karditsa Cooperative Bank (Greece), Panagiotis Tournavitis; and a member of the shared housing network in the Czech Republic, Renáta Farkašová. Additionally, representatives from the Mondragón cooperative (Basque Country), the Andalusian Federation of Cooperative Enterprises (FAECTA), and the Parliament of the Balearic Islands joined the visit, further enriching the exchange of experiences.

The group visited two of the most emblematic cooperatives in the area. The first was the Ivars d'Urgell Cooperative, an entity with a long history and strong roots in the region. The visitors were able to learn first-hand about the cooperative's facilities and production processes. The cooperative showcased its innovative projects in the agricultural and livestock sectors, highlighting its commitment to sustainability and product quality.

Subsequently, the delegation moved to the Maria Mercè Marçal public school in Tàrrega, home to the Qualia Leisure cooperative, a social enterprise model that stands out for its work in educational leisure and social inclusion for people with disabilities. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the various programs and activities offered by this cooperative, including the summer "warm" dining rooms aimed at children, young people, and groups at risk of social exclusion.       

Activities like these help promote understanding and the exchange of experiences about different Catalan socio-economic and cultural realities. This specific IVP not only highlighted the significant contribution of cooperatives to the economic and social development of the region, but also served as a platform to establish international connections and promote collaboration.