31 October 2012, Manchester - FAO Special Ambassador for Cooperatives Roberto Rodrigues received the Rochdale Pioneers Award on Wednesday in recognition of his efforts to promote this business model over the past decades.
In accepting the prize, Rodrigues praised cooperatives as an alternative social and economic model that put human beings at the center.
The award was announced during the Cooperatives United World Festival in Manchester, organized by the International Cooperatives Alliance in the framework of the International Year of Cooperatives celebrated in 2012.
"The International Year of Cooperatives is not the finish line but a departure point for a better world that supports the well-being of every person," said the FAO Special Ambassador. "Behind this there is one special idea, that I cannot be happy if my neighbor is unhappy".
Rodrigues called on the one billion cooperative members worldwide to work towards this goal. He said this would be a way to respond to the United Nations decision to honor cooperatives with an International Year and would help build the case to award the cooperative movement the Nobel Peace Prize.
"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us and the world will be as one," sang the FAO Special Ambassador to close his speech.
FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva congratulated Rodrigues for the award.
"This award recognizes Rodrigues' selfless dedication to promote the cooperative movement and a fairer, hunger-free world. We are proud to have him as our Special Ambassador for Cooperatives alongside Elizabeth Atangana," said Graziano da Silva, who opened the Cooperatives United World Festival in Manchester.
Rochdale Pioneers Award
The Rochdale Pioneers Award is given by the International Cooperatives Alliance. The award is a tribute to the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, a consumers cooperative formed in 1844 by poor workers who decided to group together to buy food at lower prices. The Rochdale Pioneers are considered the prototype for modern cooperatives and the founder of the cooperatives movement.
Credit: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations