Muhammad Yunus And 'A Cinderella Moment' At The Forbes Philanthropy Summit

By Erine Carlyle

Published on: 17th Nov, 2013
Source: Forbes

When Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus accepted the inaugural Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship, shortly before Buffett received his honor, he called it “a Cinderella moment.” And he didn’t squander the opportunity. “Making money is a happiness,” he told the audience, which collectively represented almost one-third of a trillion dollars in personal net worth. “Making other people happy is a superhappiness.”

He should know. Yunus pioneered the concept of microcredit; his Grameen Bank lent money to poor women when no one else would. Today such women own 97% of the bank.

Yunus told the story of a pilot project, in which beggars got loans of $5 to offer merchandise like cookies and candies, in addition to begging. Yunus expected 1,000 beggars to participate. But over 100,000 joined. “Within two years, more than 25,000 beggars stopped begging completely. Because they become such a successful door-to-door salesperson,” Yunus recalled, with gusto. “And my colleagues were saying, ‘How long do we have to wait for the others?’ I said, ‘Don’t push them. You don’t push them to change their core business overnight.’

“So you see, you give people a chance, they bring out their own ability. So that’s the message here,” he concluded, before imploring the audience to help others help themselves. And with that, a room of billionaires stood for the son of poor Bangladeshi peasants and cheered wildly.

Yunus meets Graca and pays respect to Madiba

madibaNobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus met Graca Machel, wife of Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela, popularly known by his endearing name Madiba, on October 4 in Johannesburg. Professor Yunus extended the great respect and admiration of the people of Bangladesh and their prayer for the good health of the great leader Nelson Mandela. He enquired about the health of Madiba.

Professor Yunus was invited by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to deliver the Mandela Lecture on the occasion of Madiba's 91st birthday in 2009 in a nationally televised event by Madiba and the top leaders of South Africa. He also joined The Elders, a group of world leaders, under the chairmanship of Madiba. Both Madiba and Graca have been long time admirers of microcredit and work of Professor Yunus.  Professor Muhammad Yunus is now visiting South Africa to attend One Young World Summit and the inaugural meeting of the B-Team, an organization of the business leaders of the world, convened by Sir Richard Branson to design the future structure of business world to take the world in the right direction.

Media Launch of Global Social Business Summit 2013


On September 18 the media launch for the Global Social Business Summit 2013 took place in Kuala Lumpur. Michael Brohm, Managing Director of The Grameen Creative Lab, gave an overview about the different aspects of the summit and the potential it has in establishing Malaysia as a hub for social business in the region.

Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus addressed the media launch with a video message.

Further panelists attending the media launch were Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General of the Treasury of Malaysia, Nurfarini Daing, Chief Executive Officer of Youth Trust Foundation myHarapan and Faiz Arshad, Founder of Recovr a local social business case study.

The Malaysian government is expected to announce a framework including funding and Programmes designed to assist and mentor the youth in social business by the time that the Global Social Business Summit 2013 will be happening. There are plans to set up a centre where young entrepreneurs can be coached and have the opportunity to network with successful entrepreneurs, which is part of the government’s aim in becoming a global innovative entrepreneur hub.

Nurfarini Daing mentioned that the social business scene in Malaysia is still quite young and in its infancy but that myHarapan is eager to develop it and will invest RM2mil in social businesses within the next 3 years. “We can start small but we want to scale local social businesses to become global champions.”, she said further. It was also stressed that there is a need to get corporations on board in order to develop Malaysia sustainably by 2018.

The Global Social Business Summit 2013 therefore will not only be a onetime event being held in Kuala Lumpur from November 7 to 9, but it will trigger a long-term impetus for the local social business scene and the South-East-Asian region.

Access to Quality Education

Muhammad Yunus

Posted: 09/26/2013

Access to quality education has enabled me to reach far beyond the Bangladeshi village I grew up in.

I was born in 1940 in Hathazari, Chittagong, which is now part of Bangladesh. Education was always important to my parents and with what little we had they were able to provide an education for their children. After completing Bachelor and Master Degrees at Dhaka University, I went on to complete a PhD at Vanderbilt University and began teaching at Middle Tennessee State University.

Upon returning to Bangladesh in early 1980s I began teaching economics at Chittagong University. It was there that I began to see the devastating impact of an unjust system with resources going to those with financial means and an education. With that vision

I founded Grameen Bank to provide loans to those considered traditionally unbankable. Grameen Bank works with the poorest and often illiterate providing uncollateralized micro-loans for tiny business enterprises by which they can lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

As part of this process we realized that providing an education to the children of the borrowers they would not suffer the same discrimination that their parents had. Grameen has been providing free education to borrower's children in the villages and these educated sons and daughters are now tasked with creating new enterprises jobs and opportunities for themselves and others.

The developing world is full of entrepreneurs and visionaries, who with access to education, equity and credit would play a key role in developing the economic situations in their countries. Today 2.5 billion adults, of whom 775 million are illiterate, could be a resource to the world's problems. There are 57 million children who don't have access to primary education. If all children in low-income countries had basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. We can fulfill the promise of universal education for all if we continue to call on world leaders to ensure that every child has the opportunity to attend school.

In 2012, I joined Kofi Annan, Michel Camdessus, and others on the Africa Progress Panel to develop strategies for equitable and sustainable development through the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). The GPE is dedicated to this development objective as the world's only multilateral partnership committed to access to education for every child. The United States pledged to increase education access for 15 million learners in conflict-affected and fragile states by 2015 by supporting learning opportunities for youth and developing partner countries institutional capacity to provide education services. As Global Citizens, we must join together to call on the United States Federal Government to fulfill its promise to the world's poor.

On September 28th, it is my pleasure to serve on the Host Committee of the 2013 Global Citizen Festival. As the United Nations General Assembly meets in New York, 60,000 Global Citizens will gather on the lawn of Central Park for the annual Festival with global leaders and musical performers. The festival will issue a clarion call to world leaders to continue funding the programs necessary to pull people out of extreme poverty including specifically the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to ensure that every child has access to universal primary education.

Visit to learn more about Professor Yunus and how his unique and revolutionary model of microfinance is proving successful in the United States.

One Young World Delegates Meet Professor Muhammad Yunus


A team of the Bangladeshi delegates for One Young World Summit 2013 assembled at Yunus Centre to meet Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.

One Young World founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson, is a London-based charity that gathers together young people from around the world, helping them make lasting connections to create positive change. They stage an annual four day long Summit where young delegates, backed by the One Young World Counselors  debate and formulate solutions for the pressing issues the world faces. No youth-dominated event outside the Olympic Games brings together more countries than One Young World. At the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Summits delegates were guided by a line-up of Counselors that included Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, HKH Prince Haakon of Norway, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter and Singer Joss Stone.

Organizers of One Young Summit which will be held this year in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2-5 October have requested Professor Muhammad Yunus and Yunus Centre to bring a delegation from Bangladesh to participate in the One Young World Summit. A team of ten young people will participate in the summit and will work as ambassadors on different thematic issues in future. Among them, four are the the children of Grameen Bank families who are now studying in Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University and theGrameen Caledonian College of Nursing.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Kofi Annan and Sir Bob Geldof will speak at the Summit and 20,000 young people will be present at the opening of the Summit at the 2010 World Cup Football Stadium in Johannesburg.

There are currently more than 130 projects and initiatives involving in excess of 100 countries.

Photo Caption: Bangladeshi delegates for One Young World Summit 2013 met Professor Muhammad Yunus today at Yunus Centre. The delegates will leave Dhaka for South Africa on October 1, 2013. tellyseries