Dr José Carlos Guisado has been posthumously honoured with the ‘Rochdale Pioneers Award’, the highest honour in the co-operative movement that the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) bestows, coinciding with the ICA Global Conference held in Kuala Lumpur. The purpose of the prize is to recognise a person or organisation that has contributed significantly to the global co-operative movement.
The President of the ICA, Monique Leroux, presented the award to his wife Rosa Garavito and sons Álvaro and José Carlos. During the ceremony, Leroux reminded guests that Dr Guisado “belonged to that category of human beings who are an inspiration to all those who work with him”.
Dr Guisado, trustee and Managing Director of the Espriu Foundation, dedicated more than 34 years of his life to the co-operative movement. He was a member of the advisory board of the health co-operative Lavinia.
Following the founding of the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO), he became the leader of the European region in 2000 and was elected President of the international organisation one year later, a position that he held up until last year, when he passed away while taking part at the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec City.
In 2011 he was elected a member of the Global Board of the International Co-operative Alliance, as representative of the sectoral organisations. On a national level, he belonged to the executive board of the Spanish Confederation of Social Economy Enterprises (CEPES). A loyal follower of the philosophy of Dr Josep Espriu, he worked tirelessly to uphold the interests and promote the principles of health co-operatives worldwide.
Patients as the number one priority
During the gala, the Director of the Espriu Foundation, Carlos Zarco, stated that “I was lucky enough to have met Dr Guisado 20 years ago, when he chose me to help him manage a hospital as his deputy. Since then, he became my boss and the best teacher I ever had, and later honoured me with his loyal friendship”.
Dr Zarco further recognised his tenacity, saying that “he was always thinking about how to improve healthcare co-operatives, holding patients as the number one priority and looking for new ways to work for healthcare providers”. “If José Carlos could see us today, he would be smiling upon us, extremely pleased and grateful, and he would think that this is a beautiful final touch to a lifetime dedicated to the co-operative movement”, concluded Zarco.