Pioneer of youth involvement in co-operatives, José Antonio Chávez Villanueva, sadly passed away
Co-operators from the Americas region and across the world mourn the loss of José Antonio Chávez Villanueva, a pioneer of youth engagement in co-operatives. José Antonio, whom friends called Toño, saw co-operatives as a vehicle to empower young people from all over the world. He sadly passed away on 11 December at the age of 36 as the result of an automobile accident in Mexico.
His involvement in the International Co-operative Alliance began in 2007 when he was named representative of the Youth Network of Cooperatives of the Americas, on behalf of the Dominican Republic. As well as establishing the first national youth co-operative committee in Mexico, he played a leading role in transforming the network into the current Regional Youth Committee, which is part of Co-operatives of the Americas.
Two years later he was elected as the youth representative of the Alliance’s board. As representative on the Board (2009-2013) he helped develop various projects that aimed to encourage young people from all over the world to make a co-operative difference. These included CoopArt, the first global competition dedicated to young people launched by the Alliance, and the International Youth Seminar hosted by the Alliance’s Youth Network in 2013.
As well as being the immediate past youth representative to the Global Board of the International Co-operative Alliance, he was also marketing manager at the Federation of Credit Unions of Mexico.
His dedication to promoting co-operation continued after 2013. In November this year he launched the book - “The continuity of the co-operative model, in whose hands it is?”, which showcases a series of youth involvement programmes developed by co-operatives.