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Professor Yunus Concludes 10-Day European Visit

Professor Yunus Concludes 10-Day European Visit

Press Release (12 June 2023)

 

Professor Yunus has concluded a 10-day visit to Europe from 23 May – 1 June 2023, marked by significant engagements and collaborations in Germany, Italy, and France. The visit encompassed high-level meetings, speeches, and the signing of agreements to drive positive change worldwide.

 

In Wiesbaden, Germany, a city that has proudly declared itself a social business hub, Professor Yunus was welcomed by the Mayor of the City at the town hall. Wiesbaden is home to three Yunus entities: Grameen Creative Lab, Yunus Environment Hub, and YY Foundation. Expressing gratitude for his engagement and interest in the city, the Mayor acknowledged Professor Yunus' contributions. In Wiesbaden, he delivered speeches on women's empowerment at the FrauenMuseum (Women's Museum) and the Rotary Club of Wiesbaden Rhein Main, where he holds an honorary membership. Notably, during his absence, the Rotary Club of Wiesbaden planted a tree in the central park of Wiesbaden to commemorate Professor Yunus' 80th birthday and celebrate his profound contributions to humanity. Furthermore, he participated in a welcome ceremony at the old courthouse, now converted into a social business incubator, engaging with young entrepreneurs and social innovators from the region in an extensive question and answer session.

 

In Trento, Italy, Professor Yunus participated in the Trento Festival of Economics as a keynote speaker. An interview was conducted on stage, where he was interviewed by Laura La Posta, the Deputy Editor of Il Ore 24, a leading financial newspaper in Italy. On the sidelines of the conference, he also engaged with former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Flavia Franzoni Professor Flavia Prodi, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, and Anya Shiffrin.

 

Furthermore, Professor Yunus met with the head of the Sports Division of UNESCO and signed an agreement to foster collaboration with the Yunus Sports Hub's work. He also held a meeting with UNEP to advance the UN Program of Zero Waste, in which he serves as an advisor to the UN Secretary-General. He also held meetings with the new CEO of Danone, with whom the Grameen-Danone partnership has long been collaborating on initiatives like Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. in Bangladesh and Danone Communities worldwide.

 

He was the chief guest at the 15th-anniversary celebration of the social business certificate course at HEC Paris, a leading French business school that established the Yunus Chair on social business and a social business certificate 15 years ago. Notable attendees included Martin Hirsch, former French minister and commissioner for poverty, and several HEC professors, CEOs of leading French companies who are members of the Social Business Action Tank, as well as the CEO of Action Tank. Additionally, he met with the President of global sportswear company Decathlon, who expressed their commitment to collaborate with Yunus Sports Hub to promote sports and social business in Thailand as an initial step.

 

Invited by Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, and INCO, Professor Yunus addressed an audience at Impact 2, an organisation supporting the establishment of social businesses and enterprises in 60 countries. The event, held at the grand hall of Paris City town hall, drew over 1,000 attendees, including entrepreneurs and key stakeholders. Professor Yunus also met European Commissioner for Social Economy Nicolas Schmitt, who traveled from Brussels specifically to engage with Professor Yunus. Commissioner Schmitt highlighted the remarkable growth of the social business sector in recent years and emphasised its increasing significance within the European Union.

 

Throughout his various appearances, Professor Yunus stressed the urgent need to build a new civilization, one that transcends profit-maximisation and embraces caring and sharing. He highlighted the perilous consequences of the current path, including global warming, wealth concentration, and escalating unemployment due to AI. Encouraging the audience at each event, he underscored the importance of nurturing selfless social business ventures and advocated for the establishment of social business venture capital funds. Professor Yunus emphasised the creation of 3ZERO Clubs, which enables young people to proactively address the three zeroes (zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero net carbon emissions) and work collectively towards building a better, more sustainable world.

Photo Caption 1: HEC Paris celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Social Business Certificate. Pictured: Benedicte Faivre Tavignot, program director; Martin Hirsch, former minister, poverty commissioner, and co-chair of the Yunus Chair; and Gilles Vermot Desroche from Schneider Electric, part of the Action Tank hosted by HEC Paris.

Photo Caption 2: Professor Muhammad Yunus with the sports section of UNESCO, Yunus Sports Hub, and The Grameen Creative Lab team. Also present were Mariagrazia Squicciarini, Director a.i. of Social Policies and CEO; Philipp Muller Wirth, Chief of Sport; Nancy McLennan, Fit for Life lead; Arili Aguirre Garcia, Consultant; and Emilie Dellon, Sports intern.

Photo Caption 3: An agreement signed at The Accelerating Social Finance BNP Paribas Cardif Event extends the collaboration between BNP Paribas and The Grameen Creative Lab. The signatories include Professor Muhammad Yunus, Hans Reitz, Antoine Sire, and Jean Lemierre, Vice President of BNP Paribas Group, highlighting their renewed commitment to advancing social business efforts.

Photo Caption 4: Professor Yunus with European Commissioner for Social Economy Nicolas Schmitt at Impact2 Paris, who traveled from Brussels to Paris to meet with him.

Photo Caption 5: Professor Yunus with Ann Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, at INCO's 2023 IMPACT2 event.

Photo Captions 6: Professor Yunus, as a guest speaker at the IMPACT2 event in Paris, represents the growing recognition of a new economy model that prioritizes social and environmental impacts.

Photo Captions  7: Professor Yunus, as a guest speaker at the IMPACT2 event in Paris, represents the growing recognition of a new economy model that prioritizes social and environmental impacts.

End

 

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