Call for Communications - Cooperative Research Conference "Deepening Our Cooperative Identity" 11-12 December 2020, Seoul, Republic of Korea

03 Mar 2020
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To celebrate the 125th anniversary of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the 25th anniversary of the ICA Statement on the Cooperative Identity, the 33rd World Cooperative Congress will be held at COEX in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 11-17 December 2020. 

The Congress offers a unique opportunity to celebrate and deepen the understanding of the cooperative identity and the profound social and economic impact of cooperatives worldwide.  How does the cooperative movement transform societies? How does the cooperative way of doing business create an innovative pathway to a sustainable future?

The Congress will explore how the cooperative identity positively addresses current global issues that demand a resolute response — climate action, sustainable development, conflicts and violence, income and wealth inequality, gender equality and the future of work. The competitive advantage of the cooperative identity — business performance, market share, best governance and management practices and the unique nature of cooperative capital will also be explored.

A “Call to Action” on the occasion of the ICA 125th anniversary will bring together the cooperative movement to discuss commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals that will most directly impact both global stability and human development.

What is a World Cooperative Congress?

World Cooperative Congresses convene only on very special occasions: the creation of the ICA (1st Congress, 1895); the approval of the Statement on the Cooperative Identity (31st Congress, 1995); or the UN International Year of Cooperatives (32nd Congress, 2012). These are gatherings of cooperators at large including representatives of ICA member organizations. The 33rd World Cooperative Congress 2020 in Seoul will be only the second Congress to be held outside Europe and is an opportunity to reaffirm the universal value and recognition of the cooperative identity.

The Cooperative Research Conference will be organized on 11-12 December 2020 in Seoul as a pre-Congress event. The Conference will be the precursor for debates on key-themes and sub-themes of the World Cooperative Congress, serving as an axis for construction of the content of discussions built on scientific and analytical contributions.

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Communications and proposals of panel sessions

The Cooperative Research Conference will explore and address specific themes intrinsically linked to the overarching theme of the Congress: “Deepening Our Cooperative Identity”.

The ICA invites cooperative researchers, experts and practitioners to submit their individual communications (between 750-1000 words) or proposals of panel sessions (including the participants names and affiliations) on the themes defined in the Concept note of the 33rd Congress and proposed under one of the three specific Thematic Lines outlined below.

The submission should include:

  • The Theme of the submission (see below). A sub-theme may also be indicated.
  • The core idea/ argument/ message as a contribution to the discussion of the Cooperative Identity
  • Specify in what ways the submission contributes to the advancement of knowledge about the Cooperative identity (as relevant)

Submissions need not necessarily be an abstract of a research paper but need to be well argumented and rooted in theory and/or practice.

Selections will be made on the basis of the potential of the proposed communications and panel sessions to address critical issues in mobilizing relevant and robust arguments based on theoretical, analytical, conceptual as well as empirical bases.

Young Scholars are particularly encouraged to submit proposals.

The authors of the accepted communications will be invited to develop them into full papers (5000-7000 words). They will work with the scientific committee of the Congress in order to elaborate their papers in line with the Congress program. Selected papers will be also invited for presentation in relevant sessions of the Congress, and/or publication.

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Thematic Lines


1. The Cooperative Identity

What are the unique opportunities that the Cooperative Identity presents for membership growth, expanded market share and significant social impact. 

  • Governance, member participation, diversity and inclusion
  • The Cooperative brand recognition
  • Education about cooperative identity
  • Cooperatives as intangible cultural heritage
  • Cooperatives and the Social Solidarity Economy


2. Cooperative Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The cooperative identity as a foundation for innovation and a unique business opportunity.

  • New economic paradigms, digital transformation, and new business models
  • Ethical value chain management
  • Building strong cooperative entrepreneurial networks
  • Cooperative capital: meeting future capital needs


3. Cooperative Global Contributions

The present and future roles of cooperatives in affecting positive change to global challenges: climate crisis, conflict, inequality.

  • Climate change and environmental protection
  • Positive peace, natural disaster recovery and the refugee crisis
  • Global cooperative development


4. Cooperative identity and the SDGs

Cooperatives as promoters of the SDGs and the role of the cooperative identity

  • Work and its future
  • Health and social services
  • Food security
  • Energy and housing


5. Other

Other relevant themes clearly related to the Cooperative Identity will also be considered.

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Scientific committee

A scientific committee will supervise the process of communication selection and elaboration of papers. The committee is composed of researchers proposed by

  • ICA Committee on Cooperative Research
  • ICA Cooperative Law Committee
  • Korea Society of Cooperative Studies


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Call for communications (Submissions deadline: 30 April)

Selection of communications (1 May – 15 May)

Elaboration of papers (16 May – 31 October)

  • Selected authors will receive comments from the scientific committee.
  • A call for a meeting with individual authors may be scheduled if needed.
  • Selected authors will submit their first draft of full papers by 1 September. After feedback from the scientific committee, they will submit their final papers by 31 October.

Publication of abstracts and papers (1 November – 30 December)

All abstracts will be translated into four languages (EN, FR, ES, KR) and integrated into a conference book. All papers will be uploaded on the Congress website and app.

Post-Conference activity (until February 2021)

After the Congress, all authors will finalize their papers (if needed) and submit them to the ICA. The submitted papers will be used to publish the ICA 2020 Congress collection, the Review of International Cooperation, and a special edition of the Journal of Cooperative Organization and Management (Elsevier).

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The communications should be submitted in English, French or Spanish. Full papers might be written in English, French or Spanish.

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More information

For more information, please contact Santosh Kumar, Legislation coordinator, the ICA at 

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Proposal Submission

In using provided forms, please submit your communications or panel proposal to indicating in the subject line: "LAST NAME-World Coop Congress 2020- THEME #" for communications or "LAST NAME-World Coop Congress 2020 Panel- THEME #" for panel proposals. 

If you are a Young Scholar (student, or within 2 years of graduation) please add: LAST NAME-World Coop Congress 2020 YS- THEME #