Credit Unions are Hume's Greatest Accomplishment
DUBLIN -- When John Hume, winner of the Nobel Peace Price, the Ghandi Peace Price and the Martin Luther King award, was asked what he was most proud of during a BBC interview, he replied helping start the Irish credit union movement. Hume founded the first Northern Ireland credit union in Derry that today has 30,000 members. He will go to help any credit union at the ring of a telephone.
For his lifelong accomplishments in the movement, WOCCU gave him their highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, at their closing ceremonies for the 2006 Conference.
Hume, dressed in a tweed jacket and pants that looked comfortable, jokingly put the glass bowl on his head.
His acceptance speech was serious.
The world is so much smaller today, thanks to technology. A meeting of international credit union people in Ireland would have been impossible when credit unions were getting started. Credit unions have positively affected every Irish household and many households around the world, moving people from poverty to dignity. He said for working class people the only loan opportunities when he started in the movement were bad ones. "Today there isn't a pawnshop in Ireland."
What he would like is a world without war. He feels that everyone needs "to respect the differences" between ourselves and others. He told us who we are is merely an accident of birth.
His closing remarks asked the people to "Spill your sweat working together, not blood."