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Two Lions frozen in white marble flanked the entrance of the Cavalieri Hilton Hotel where WOCCU held the 2005 World CU Conference in Rome, Italy. In any one moment, so much happened. Walking the halls one could hear the lilt of Irish accents contrasted with clipped British vowels and the open Australia ones, while a smattering of Spanish was intermingled. In one breakout session where Rick Nelson, an Argentinan American, was translating, he waved his hands fantastically to make the speaker’s points. Bits of conversation could be heard as the 1,124 delegates walked through the halls. The Irish man: “I don’t work on Tuesdays, so I volunteer as a teller at my credit union every Tuesday.” American woman: “That would never happen at home.” Polish man: “We’ve only been around since the early `90s.” Canadian woman: “I don’t carry cash, we’re becoming a card only country.” Like many conferences, it was decisions, decisions, decisions on what to attend. With four concurrent sessions the desire to clone was great. Throughout the event old friends from other conferences greeted each other. Despite the encouragement to talk to delegates from different countries, groups tended to stay in their own nationality. Even a cynic could not help but be moved by the opening flag ceremony. Flags from all participating 41 countries were waved into the auditorium by locals in multi-colored medieval costume and plumed hats that would please any of the three musketeers. Representatives rose as their flag came by. However beyond the national pride when all 41 flags were on stage it was clear that they represented not a country but a worldwide movement. [email protected] (Editor’s Note: Credit Union Times overseas correspondent Donna Lane Nelson provided all of the on-site coverage of the WOCCU conference. She is a U.S. citizen, originally from Boston, who resides in Switzerland.)

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