2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner & Child Rights Activist
Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning social entrepreneur, founded Grameen Bank in 1983, the world's first microlending institution, which has provided nearly $30 billion in loans to millions of borrowers in over 82,000 communities. Yunus treats credit as a human right, offering small loans with low interest rates to help poor laborers, especially women, in Bangladesh expand their businesses and escape poverty. His work has been recognized with awards such as the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the US Congressional Gold Medal.
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Microfinance pioneer and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, speaker Muhammad Yunus is one of our most successful social entrepreneurs. When not traveling the world addressing audiences as a sought-after keynote speaker, Muhammad Yunus lives in Bangladesh.
In 1976, just five years after Bangladesh secured its independence, Muhammad Yunus actively participated in the new country’s economic development. As an economics professor at Chittagong University, Yunus helped create successful models of local governance. But something was missing.
Poor laborers, especially women, in the villages near Chittagong could not borrow money on fair terms to expand their businesses. Small loans with low interest rates, Yunus found, were nearly always used wisely and repaid in full. After lending his own money for a time, Yunus founded Grameen Bank in 1983, establishing the world’s first microlending institution.
By treating credit as a human right, Yunus had discovered an uncommonly effective weapon against poverty. Grameen Bank has served as a model for similar institutions around the world. It has provided nearly $30 billion in loans to millions of borrowers in more than 82,000 communities. Grameen Bank’s repayment rate consistently exceed 98 percent.
Along with his role at the head of Chittagong University’s economics department, Yunus has held a number of policy-making positions. In 1993, the UN Secretary-General appointed him to the International Advisory Group for the World Conference on Women. He has also served on the Global Commision on Women’s Health and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance. Yunus is a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development.
After the 2006 Nobel Peace Price, Yunus additionally received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the US Congressional Gold Medal.
“I was not trained to understand self-help. I was trained, like all students of economics, to believe that all people, as they grow up, should prepare themselves to get jobs at the job market. If you fail to get a job, you register yourself for government charity. But I could not hold on to these beliefs when I faced the real life of the poor people in Bangladesh. For most of them [the] job market did not mean much. For survival they turned to economic activities on their own. But the economic institutions and policies did not take notice of their struggle. They were rejected by the formal systems for no fault of their own....” -From a speech given by Professor Yunus
Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker and economist. He previously was a professor of economics and is famous for his successful application of microcredit ; the extension of small loans. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank.
In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” Yunus himself has received several other national and international honors. He is the author of Banker to the Poor and a founding board member of Grameen Foundation. In this speech, keynote speaker Muhammad Yunus will talk about his story founding the Grameen bank and why it is important to give microcredits to the poor, as everyone is born an entrepreneur. He will talk about how those microcredits can eradicate poverty while teaching important lessons and empowering society.
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