I'm originally from Spain, graduated with a B.A in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2006. After that I worked for the international youth run organization AIESEC in several projects for youth empowerment and social entrepreneurship in the Middle East, and Latin America. In 2009, I joined the microcredit team at Instituto Banco Palmas, the first community bank in Brazil. Since 2013 I'm coordinating efforts to establish Palmaslab, a research and innovation lab that aims to transform the urban periphery of Fortaleza by empowering communities through software development and research produced by young people in those communities.
How does your work relate to economic democracy?
Banco Palmas is the first Community Bank in Brazil, created in one of the poorest communities of Brazil (Conjunto Palmeiras in the city of Fortaleza). Banco Palmas was established not only to bring financial services to an impoverished community, but also to create a new model for banking. The residents of Conjunto Palmeiras were aware that accessing services in the existing system wasn’t sufficient, and that it was necessary to create a different model of banking for the population that was inspired by the principles of the solidarity economy. Since Banco Palmas was founded nearly 20 years ago, we have created spaces for more than 100 communities in Brazil to decide what model of socio-economic development fits their priorities. For four years I worked as the Director of Microcredit at Banco Palmas.
In the last three years I’ve had the opportunity, together with other colleagues, to create PalmasLab, a laboratory for innovation and research within Instituto Banco Palmas, which develops Information Technology tools and produces research, starting from the experience of marginalized communities. PalmasLab’s objective is to build the capacities of young people and incubate their initiatives so that they become protagonists in processes to create new solutions. We work with youth who are community leaders, programmers, designers, hackers, researchers, and entrepreneurs, to strengthen their capacities and promote the protagonism of human beings who have been unable to access opportunity within the capitalist economic system.
Alvaro Javier Arroyo Garcia
Rio Yurumangui (Yurumangui River) Community Concil
I was born in the rural area of the pacific region of Colombia. Where I have learned to value the biological diversity of the region, and the Afro-Colombian, and black communities cultural practices, which are connected to solidarity, the search of the equilibrium between individual and collective well being. Alone with the conservation of biodiversity through its sustainable use. In other words it’s conserved while used. Being open minded is a key aspect of my thinking stille. Given that we need to learn from other people, cultures and civilization that will allow us to improve, through complementing our knowledge without losing or overlooking our cultural and ancestral knowledge.
How does your current work relate to economic democracy:
Is related in that I am in the search for alternatives of economic institutions that allow to improve economic and productive processes, with the goal of generating more social and economic equality, mainly strengthening communities and groups that have being exploited and excluded. Currently I work in the strengthening of productive and economic alternatives for ethnic communities: Black, Afro Colombian, that inhabit the rural areas of the Colombian pacific region.
Director, People Innovation & Impact, Vancity Credit Union
Jeffrey Bos is the Director, People Innovation & Impact at Vancity Credit Union. He and his team are charged with understanding what is needed for Vancity’s people and leaders to activate our values-based business model at scale, and to design innovative programs to meet those needs. Other roles at Vancity have included: a leading a large IT program and as a director of risk and compliance. Jeff has been a Global Alliance for Banking on Values Values Ambassador since 2012. Over the past two years he has co-designed and facilitated the Values Ambassador program, and leads the Values Ambassador network activities between meetings. Before joining Vancity in 2010, Jeff was a founding partner of a sustainable ski manufacturing company in Vancouver, and has over 10 years experience in the financial services sector. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (Seattle, USA), and an honours degree in Biology and Economics from Queen’s University (Kingston, CAN). Jeff’s current area of interest is the intersection between values-based leadership, disruptive innovation and heart-centered wisdom traditions.
Founder, Project Row Houses
Rick Lowe is an artist who resides in Houston, Texas. His formal training is in the visual arts. Over the past twenty years he has worked both inside and outside of art world institutions by participating in exhibitions and developing community based art projects.
His exhibitions includes; Phoenix Art Museum, Contemporary arts Museum, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York, Kwangji Bienale, Kwangji, Korea, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Glassell School, Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan, Venice Architecture Bienale. Cittadellarte, Biella, Italy, Nasher Scuplture Center, Dallas, TX, Community building projects includes; Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas; Watts House Project, Los Angeles, CA; Arts Plan for Rem Koolhaus designed Seattle Public Library with Jessica Cusick; Borough Project for Spoleto Festival with Suzanne Lacy, Charleston, SC; Delray Beach Cultural Loop, Delray Beach, Florida, a project for the Seattle Art Museum in their new Olympic Sculpture Park with David Adjaye. Among Rick’s honors are; Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence; AIA Keystone Award, the Heinz Award in the arts and humanities; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculptur! e Governors Award; Loeb Fellow at Harvard University; Skandalaris Award for Excellence in Art Architecture, USA Artists Booth Fellow, and the Creative Time Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change.
In 1993, Rick founded Project Row Houses, an arts and cultural community located in a historically significant and culturally charged neighborhood in Houston, Texas. In 2006, he spearheaded Transforma Projects in New Orleans, a collaborative effort to engage artists and creativity in the rebuilding of the City after hurricane Katrina.