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Executive Committee

Asia

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Hironori Hijioka : Vice-President – Asia
Mr. Hironori Hijioka is Executive Director of JA Zenchu (an apex organization of all of the agricultural co-operatives and federations in Japan), in charge of international relations and assistance for primary co-operatives’ activities to support members.
He was named Vice president of ICAO at the general meeting in fall of 2017.
Mr. Hijioka has long served as an active co-operator in JA Zen-noh, National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations after he graduated from Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University. In JA Zen-noh He spent his career mainly in providing farming facilities to member farmers through primary co-operatives.

Europe

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Ola Hedstein : Vice-President - Europe
Mr Ola Hedstein is the Director General of Norwegian Agricultural Co-operatives (NAC). He was made the ICAO Vice-President of the Europe region in 2017.
Mr. Hedstein has held his position as Director General since 2012. He has been educated at the Norwegian University of Life Science and the Norwegian Business School.
He has been working in the agricultural co-operatives in Norway since 1992, but he also has experience from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Norwegian Food Branding Foundation.
He is strongly dedicated to the development of co-operatives as a tool for farmers to secure an efficient access to the market and a reasonable income.

Africa

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Ivan Asiimwe : Vice-President – Africa
CPA Ivan Asiimwe is the General Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) the umbrella organization for all the Cooperatives in Uganda. He was born in a humble family of farmers and because of that background and passion, he decided to join a farmers’ Cooperative as a Member while a student at the University way back in 1998 where he later got employment in 2003 after his undergraduate program. He has worked with Cooperatives for the last 15 years having risen through ranks from a cahier of a farmers’ primary Cooperative up to his current position with over 13 years of experience in Cooperative Management.
Ivan is the first Certified Public Accountant in Uganda to pursue professional course in Cooperative Management and is currently the president of the Association of Cooperative professionals in Uganda. He was admitted on the ICAO Board in 2016 replacing his predecessor former CEO of UCA who retired same year.
CPA Ivan Asiimwe represents farmer Cooperatives on many Boards in Uganda including Cooperative College, Cooperative Insurance Company, Uganda Warehouse receipt system Authority, Enterprise for housing company among others. This vast experience, skills and knowledge gained overtime combined with the passion gives him impetus to continuously work and support farmer Cooperatives at different levels.
CPA Ivan Asiimwe holds a Master of Business Administration from Makerere University (Uganda) among other qualifications and is currently pursuing a PHD focusing on Cooperative Development.

America

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Márcio Lopes de Freitas: Vice President - Americas
Mr. Márcio Lopes de Freitas, the president of the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB), was made Vice-President of the Americas region in 2013.

A farmer and a member of a cooperative for over 25 years, Mr. Freitas, 54, was born in Patrocinio Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil. His passion for agriculture and cooperatives comes from his family.

He was first based on a property located near his hometown, where he still grows coffee and organic vegetables, in addition to raising cattle. Dedicated to the values and principles of cooperatives, Mr. Freitas seeks a better way of life for all.

His direct participation in the cooperative system began in 1994, on the board of the Cooperative of Coffee Growers and Ranchers (Cocapec) as well as in the Cooperative of Rural Credit (Credicocapec), where he served as president. His contribution to the development of cooperatives continued at the helm of the Organization of Cooperatives of the State of Sao Paulo (Ocesp) between 1997 and 2001 and now at that of the Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB). He is also the president of the National Service of Cooperative Learning (Sescoop) and the Organization of the Cooperatives of Portuguese Speaking Countries (OCPLP).

Mr. Freitas graduated with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Brasília (UnB).