About Speaker Muhammad Yunus…
Professor Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his revolutionary work in establishing the Grameen Movement; this movement, based on micro-finance for the rural poor, combines capitalism and social responsibility and has transformed the lives of millions across the world.
In his home country, Bangladesh, he has had an unparalleled influence on rural development and politics. His ideas on village government (Gram Sarkar) were officially adopted by his government in 1980. Prior to that he was honored with the President’s award for his concept of three share cooperative farming.
Professor Yunus took a PhD in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1969 as a Fulbright scholar, moving on to become assistant professor of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University. He then returned to his home country to work in the Economics Department of Chittagong University. He has worked on many United Nations projects, amongst them the Global Commission on Women’s Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance.
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In his home country Professor Yunus has served on many committees and commissions with remits ranging from education to disaster prevention to banking. He has received numerous international awards in addition to the Nobel Prize, amongst them the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1989) and the World Food Prize from the World Food Prize Foundation (1994). In Bangladesh he was given the Independence Day Award in 1987, the highest honor the nation can bestow.
Professor Yunus has recently published Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs, demonstrating how social business has become globally accepted as an effective and inspiring methodology. In his book and his speeches he explains the transformational effect of social business and gives guidance for those who wish either to create their own social business or incorporate its principles into an existing entity.