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Username: Fairbairn
Date/Time: Thu, October 19, 2000 at 6:19 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Navigator V4.7 Custom using Macintosh PowerPC
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Subject: Support letter for .co-op



I write on behalf of the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, to express our support for the proposal to assign a global Top Level Domain name for co-operative organizations.

Ours is a university-based centre devoted to research on co-operatives. Our research makes it apparent that co-operatives are significant, numerous, globally widespread, and distinctive organizations that have a unique profile and need for visibility.

Co-operatives are not only an important business sector, especially in areas like agriculture and popular savings and credit:  they are also the largest social movement in the history of the world.  Worldwide there are currently three-quarters of a million official co-operative organizations, whose members include at least seven hundred million people in almost one hundred countries.  This -- surely! -- is the kind of global sector for which a gTLD should be reserved.

Moreover, the abundance of co-operatives in both developed and developing countries ensures that such a domain name will bridge the global divides of North and South as well as East and West. Co-operatives are dedicated not only to economic development, but also to education and international co-operation.  A co-operative gTLD is an opportunity to use the internet to create a
global, virtual community centred on issues of participatory development, education, and trade.

I anticipate that we and other co-operative - sector organizations would make extensive use of a co-operative gTLD.  Co-operatives will market their distinctive advantages and engage in e-commerce with one another; members will seek and find online connections to co-operatives through such a domain; organizations such as ours will participate in collaborative research and education.  A .coop gTLD will facilitate such activities by fostering trust and enhancing the co-operative identity in internet dealings.

In short, a co-op gTLD is an excellent idea both from the point of view of co-operatives themselves, and from the point of view of the internet and its global connectedness to communities.


Brett Fairbairn


Brett Fairbairn, Professor of History
Director, Centre for the Study of Co-operatives
University of Saskatchewan
101 Diefenbaker Place
Saskatoon SK  S7N 5B8  CANADA

tel. (306) 966-8505    fax (306) 966-8517




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