Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank and the Yunus Centre
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunusrofessor Muhammad Yunus is the father of microcredit, the father of social business, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, the Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as “one of 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time.”
Professor Yunus was born in Bangladesh in 1940. In 1965, he received Fulbright Scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University, U.S.A., and did his Ph.D. in economics in 1969.Professor Yunus returned to Bangladesh in 1972 and joined the Department of Economics, University of Chittagong, as its chairman. In 1976, Professor Yunus started to experiment with providing collateral free loans to the poor. The project was called Grameen Bank Project and later, in 1983, became a full-fledged bank for providing loans to the poor, mostly women, in rural Bangladesh.
Today Grameen Bank has over 8.4 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women and disburses over one and a half billion US dollars each year. In 2006, Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Professor Muhammad Yunus is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees from universities across 20 countries. He has received 112 awards from 26 countries including state honors from 10 countries. He is one of seven individuals to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom and the United States Congressional Gold Medal. Other notable awards include the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1984), World Food Prize (1994), International Simon Bolivar Prize (1996), Sydney Peace Prize (1998), The Prince of Austurias Award for Concord (1998) and Seoul Peace Prize (2006).
The concept of social business, which he introduced into the economic framework, is defined as a non-dividend company dedicated to solving social problems, such as healthcare, education, sanitation, water pollution, unemployment, environmental degradation, etc. His microcredit idea has spread to almost all the countries of the world, including the industrialized countries of the West. United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, invited Professor Yunus to serve as an MDG Advocate.
He sits on the Board of United Nations Foundation, Schwab Foundation, Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Grameen Credit Agricole Microcredit Foundation and Chirac Foundation. He is one of the founding members of The Elders. Professor Yunus serves as Nobel Laureate in Residence at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia). Professor Yunus was chosen by Wharton School of Business as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Persons of the Past 25 Years.” AsiaWeek (Hong Kong) selected him as one of “Twenty Great Asians 1975 – 1995).” Ananda Bazaar Patrika (India) selected Professor Yunus as one of “Ten Great Bengalis of the Century (1900 – 1999).”
In 2006, Time magazine listed Professor Yunus under “60 years of Asian Heroes” as one of the top 12 business leaders. In 2008, in an open online poll, Yunus was voted the 2nd topmost intellectual person in the world on the list of Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (United States). In 2010, The New Statesman (UK) listed him as one of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures.”
Professor Yunus has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, Hardtalk on BBC and The Simpsons. He has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and Newsweek. In June 2012, Professor Yunus was named Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University. On Google+, Professor Yunus is one of the most followed person worldwide, with over 2 million followers.