Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus received the prestigious Equitas Award for Human Rights on May 28 in Montreal Canada. The Chair of Equitas Board, Director in Residence at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, Melissa Sonberg, presented the Award for Human Rights to Prof. Yunus. “We are delighted that Prof. Yunus has finally made it to Montreal to accept our Award in person”, she said. The award was made to Professor Yunus in 2011, but he has only been able to collect it this month in Montreal.
“The work of social change is never easy. It requires intelligence, imagination, passion and commitment – qualities which Prof. Yunus possesses in spades as well as many more”, Sonberg adds.
This award was created in 2009 to recognize individuals or organizations who have made exceptional contributions to advancing equality, social justice and respect for human dignity.
While in Montreal, Professor Yunus was invited to address business students and faculty at HEC Montreal and met with HEC Montreal Managing Director Dr. Michel Patry on the same day. HEC is interested in creating a Social Business Centre in the university.
Following his visit to Montreal, Professor Yunus was in Ottawa on May 29 for events organized by the Government of Canada. He addressed the staff of their Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and participated in a knowledge event with Economic and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
Professor Yunus had a meeting with the Finance Minister of Canada, Joe Oliver who is a great enthusiast regarding microcredit. They met at the Minister's office and discussed prospect of implementing social business in Canada and around the world.
Dean Allison, Member of Parliament Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in Canada hosted a lunch in honor of Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at the Parliamentary Restaurant in Ottawa.
On May 30, Professor Yunus visited the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto to discuss the impact of the microcredit revolution. The session was moderated by John Stackhouse, Former editor-in-chief, Globe and Mail Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs. Later Professor Yunus had internal meeting with the senior professors to discuss the possibility of creating a social business centre in the university.
On the same day Professor Yunus attended a reception in his honor organized by the Bangladeshi community in Toronto. Ontario's Provincial Minister was a guest of honor in the event. More than 500 people attended the event.
In Toronto, Professor Yunus had a meeting with worldwide President & CEO of McCain, Allison McCain. They talked about the creation social business fund in Canada. Last year on 1 December 2013 McCain and Professor Yunus launched the joint venture with McCain in Colombia called ‘Campo Vivo’ a social business that gives benefit to farmer families in Colombia.
Jim Balsillie, founder of blackberry and RIM, hosted dinner in honour of Professor Yunus inviting leading social activists in Canada. They discussed future plans for social business in Canada. Some of them expressed their in interest to participate in the Global Social Business Summit to be held in Mexico City on November 27-28 this year.
On his final day in Canada, Professor Yunus gave a keynote address on social business, organized by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance in Waterloo. The institute was founded by Jim Balsillie. In his speech Professor Yunus said that “fate is what we make of it. We create our world. See a problem, solve it.” "Each of us has the capacity to change the world", he added.