In Israel, where the Cooperative Movement has deep roots and was the main driving force in building a modern Economy, even before the creation of the State, one Consumer Coop has decided to put coop awareness back on the agenda.
For the first time in 15 years, Coop Israel and Tel Aviv University, one of the most prestigious Academic Institutions in the country, have created a University Course on Cooperative Identity in the Modern Economy. The Program is run by the Buchman Faculty of Law and allows LLM students to discover the legal and economic significance of the Cooperative alternative.
In line with the vision set forth by the Cooperative Movement, and facilitated by Coop Israel, this Program combines Academic content, Research and practical workshops with leading cooperatives active on the Market.
Since the 1930s, consumer coops, along with the Kibbutz movement and others, catered to the basic needs of an entire population, and laid the foundations for the Start-Up Nation’s Industry, Agriculture, indeed the entire fabric of economic life.
But as in other countries, the Israeli Cooperatives went through a crisis during the 80s. Many Coops have since morphed or disappeared altogether in favor of POCs. And so, despite a rich cooperative History in Israel, and the predominant role some of them still play in the Economy today, most people are unaware of the nature and significance of the cooperative option.
This is the first in what Coop Israel hopes to be a long line of Academic initiatives. It is already in advanced talks with the prestigious Faculty of Law at Bar Ilan University, toward creating a Cooperative Track for Academic Excellence. This initiative includes a Research Program, which may lead to a new generation of Coop Experts within the Faculty itself.
The ultimate goal is to foster Cooperative awareness from the ground up, but also to facilitate academic research that can drive much-needed legal and economic Reform, to the benefit of the Cooperative Movement in Israel.
At a time when Israel’s Youth is demanding greater social equaity, these initiatives aim to educate the leaders of tomorrow, and remind them that there exists a viable business model out there, one that puts people first, and creates ethical, sustainable wealth for society.