Secretary-General's MDG Advocay Group

Secretary General's MDG Advocacy Group

Muhammad Yunus

Photo of Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus,
Nobel Peace Prize Winner, founder of the Grameen Bank (Bangladesh)

Professor Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, fueled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right. His objective was to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves.

From Yunus' personal loan of small amounts of money to destitute basket weavers in Bangladesh in the mid-70s, the Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through micro-lending. Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide.

In 2006, Yunus and Grameen Bank jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below."

In order to address the ever-growing interest in his work, Yunus in 2008 created the Yunus Centre, aimed primarily at promoting and disseminating his philosophy, with a special focus on social business.

Born in 1940 in the seaport city of Chittagong, Professor Yunus studied at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, then received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt in 1969 and the following year became an assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University. Returning to Bangladesh, Yunus headed the economics department at Chittagong University.

From 1993 to 1995, Professor Yunus was a member of the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women, a post to which he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General. He has served on the Global Commission of Women's Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance.

Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavours. He is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation.

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