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Spotlight on an International CU Advocate: Brent Rempe, I-CUDE
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 7:00 AM

Brent Rempe

Brent Rempe, AVP of credit union development for WEOKIE Credit Union, just received his International Credit Union Development Education (I-CUDE) designation. Along with eight other individuals, Rempe was recognized during the 2018 World Credit Union Conference in Singapore.

The Development Education Program is designed to encourage an international exchange of ideas and opportunities around credit union philosophy. In an effort to encourage trained development educators to learn from their international peers and to learn from international travel opportunities, seven international CUDE programs offer their development educators the opportunity to achieve an I-CUDE designation.

Rempe's I-CUDE designation was the culmination of two years of work in the international credit union and cooperative movement, which included involvement in Canada, Kenya, The Gambia, and Senegal. He says these experiences developed his intercultural competence and gave him the confidence to work internationally.

After attending CUDE in September 2015, Rempe developed some training on the credit union advantage, which he then presented as a workshop at the Canadian Association for Studies on Co-operation (CASC) Conference in May 2016. He also presented research at the May 2017 CASC conference and attended Cooperative Governance School at the University of Saskatchewan in October 2017. 

"Since college, I’ve been interested in international development, diversity and inclusion, and intercultural communication," said Rempe. "But I had not traveled outside of Canada/Mexico border cities until 2016. A friend from the Canadian co-op movement that I met at that first CASC conference who had volunteered for the CU movement in Uganda and Malawi encouraged me to do it. She gave me a 'pep talk' at the conference."  

But it was Lois Kitsch, former DE director at National Credit Union Foundation, who was his real inspiration, through her international work.

"[Lois] is someone I respect, and she invited me to join her in Kenya last summer (2017)," said Rempe. "Knowing Lois was so well-traveled, I felt comfortable with her leading my first visit to a developing nation. I believe she was 43 when she first left the US, and has now visited well over 60 countries. I was 36 when I first visited Kenya, so Lois gave me hope that I could make an impact overseas despite being 'late to the game.'"

Rempe has visited the continent of Africa several times. In June 2017, he attended the inaugural International DE Workshop in Lake Naivasha, Kenya, and then participated in the February 2018 Africa DE program in The Gambia, immediately followed by a cooperative study tour of the NCBA/CLUSA millet production project in Senegal.

"My first international DE project included crowdfunding $10,000 USD to build classrooms for students with physical disabilities in Likuyani, Kenya," Rempe said. "I then led a group of Oklahoma educators to that school to provide professional development to teachers in June 2018. I anticipate continuing this project by bringing Oklahoma teachers and students back to the school next summer."

Cornerstone Credit Union League congratulates Brent Rempe on his impressive accomplishments in America and internationally and for his passion for people. He exemplifies the credit union spirit, and we look forward to seeing more of his good works in the future.