At the heart of a new program from the World Council of Credit Unions is a two-fold plan to attract younger members and develop leaders.
The council has launched its Professional Fellows Program, which will pair credit union professionals from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the United States.
Funded in part by a grant from the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the program will enable 10 young professionals each from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to interact with 20 of their counterparts from Iowa and North Carolina, according to WOCCU.
The new 18-month, $386,000 program is designed to facilitate idea exchanges, promote foreign language skills and cultural diversity and improve problem-solving skills as they relate to credit union development and management on a global basis, WOCCU said. In addition, participants will focus on finding new ways to attract younger members to credit unions in participating countries.
Participants will travel to partnering countries as part of the educational exchanges, with four visits scheduled between June 2012 and January 2013. Part of the U.S. participants' experience will include a study of Hispanic cultures to more effectively serve Hispanic members back home.
“We are very excited to be able to offer this program for the first time,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. “Our ongoing mission has been to facilitate exchanges between credit unions from various countries. This grant will help us reach farther in fulfilling this mission.”.