- Yunus CentreChairman, present
- Grameen BankManaging Director, 1983 - 2011
I am Professor Muhammad Yunus. I was born on June 28, 1940. I am the founder Grameen Bank, a bank which pioneered microcredit – a method of banking where small loans are given to the poor, mostly to women, without collateral, for income generating activities, with high repayment rate, to help them get out of poverty. I am also the Chairman of Yunus Centre, which serves as a global hub for social business and it is also my international public affairs office.
I was born in the village of Bathua, in the district of Chittagong. I am the third oldest of nine children. My father was Haji Muhammad Dula Mia Shawdagar. He was a jeweler. My mother was Sufia Khatun. In 1944, my family moved to the city of Chittagong and there I studied at Lamabazar Primary School. Later, I completed my matriculation examination from Chittagong Collegiate School.
I enrolled into the Department of Economics at University of Dhaka in 1957, and I got my BA in Economics in 1960 and my MA in 1961.
Upon completing my studies at Dhaka University, I joined the Bureau of Economics at Dhaka University. I was appointed as a lecturer in Economics at Chittagong College in 1961. In 1965, I was offered a Fulbright Scholarship to study Economics at Vanderbilt University in the United States and I obtained my Ph.D in Economics in 1969. I taught Economics at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN from 1969 to 1972.
In 1971, Bangladesh won its independence after a brutal Liberation War. I was in the United States at that time. There, I founded a Citizen's Committee in Nashville, TN, and published a newsletter named, Bangladesh Newsletter. I also ran the Bangladesh Information Center in Washington D.C., with other Bangladeshis living in the United States, to raise support for liberation of Bangladesh and to lobby the U.S. Congress to stop military aid to Pakistan.
In 1972, I returned to Bangladesh. After a brief time at the Planning Commission, I joined the Department of Economics at Chittagong University as its Chairman. Bangladesh at that time was an extremely poor country. The turning point in my life came in 1974, while Bangladesh was under a severe famine. I found that I was unable to continue to teach elegant economic theories to my students while my people starved outside the windows of my classrooms.
I left the classroom and went to the neighboring village called Jobra. What I found in that village shocked and horrified me. I learned that the villagers had become economic slaves to ruthless money lenders. I made a list of the people in the village who had taken loans and the amount of loans. At the end of the day, my list contained 42 names and $27 of loans. I decided to lend the $27 to the people from my own pocket so that they could free themselves from the grasp of the money lenders. This created a lot of commotion in the village. The villagers were very happy to be free of the money lenders. I felt good that I had done something to change the lives of these people. I thought, "If with so little, I can make these people so happy, why should I not keep doing it?" And that is what I did. I approached the traditional banks and urged them to lend to the villagers, but they told me that the poor are not credit-worthy; they do not have any collateral. I said, no, the poor are just as credit-worthy and offered myself as a guarantor for the villagers. Only then did the bank agree to lend to the villagers.
I started the Grameen Bank Project in 1976 and after much struggle and effort in October 2nd, of 1983, the project was transformed into a full-fledged bank, called Grameen Bank (Village Bank) and this bank lends only to poor, rural citizens of Bangladesh.
As of May 2011, Grameen Bank (GB) has 8.4 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. With 2,556 branches, GB provides services in 84,237 villages, covering all of the villages in Bangladesh. It has lent over USD 10 billion to the poor people with nearly 100 percent repayment rate, since its inception.
In October 2006, I was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Grameen Bank for the efforts to create economic and social development.
I am married to Dr. Afrozi Yunus, and have two daughters, Monica and Deena.
- Vanderbilt UniversityEconomics, PhD., 1965 - 1969
- Dhaka UniversityEconomics, MA, 1960 - 1961
- Dhaka UniversityEconomics, BA, 1957 - 1960
The 12th Yunus Centre Social Business Design Lab took place on 15 February 2014 at Grameen Bank Auditorium. Over 200 participants from different organizations attended. Fifteen member delegations of student from Peking University Business School, four faculty members of Malaysian University UKM, one representative from Monash University of Australia attended, among others.
The Design Lab was chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus. He began by welcoming the guests including those participating via live stream. He greeted 1261 participants via live-stream from 76 countries at the Design Lab.
Professor Yunus then provided a summary of the projects that had emerged from the previous 11 labs. Of a total of 74 social business plans presented, 58 social businesses had already received approval for implementation. Of these 30 had already become operational.
At the 12th lab, six new social business plans were presented. These included four Nobin Uddokta projects, businesses launched by young entrepreneurs who are the children of Grameen Bank families. These were Talukdar Dairy Farm by Md. Helal Uddin and Grameen Telecom Trust, Aminur Bamboo Mat Workers by Mr. Aminur Rahman and Grameen Byobasha Bikash, Shamim Cosmetics by Md. Shamim Reza and Grameen Kalyan and Jalal’s Homemade Bags by Md. Shariful Islam and Grameen Trust.
In addition, a Social Business to create employment and livelihood for savar tragedy victims by Ms. Hema Helal of Sneha Foundation and social business named ‘Jyoti’-A Candle Making Social Business for the visually impaired by Nazmul Hossain Faruk, who himself is a visually impaired person, were presented.
All the plans were greeted warmly by the participants. There were several rounds of discussions on how each social business could be improved and strengthened during the main session as well as in breakout sessions. All six projects received go ahead to proceed. With the help of the Project Bondhu or Project Friend, these projects would be finalized for investment and implementation as next step.
In between sessions, there was a Q and A session with Professor Yunus with online participants from different countries.
The day ended with signing of MoU agreement for the launch of 16 Nobin Uddokta social businesses.
Professor Yunus thanked the participants for the innovative social businesses and noted that it was exciting that so many ideas were now a reality. He also invited participants to the 13th Social Business Design Lab on March 15 and to attend this year’s Annual Social Business Day on June 28.
In the picture, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus poses with the entrepreneurs of 5 newly launched Nobin Uddokta Social Businesses. Each entrepreneur, who is a son of a Grameen Bank borrower, has received financing for his business.
The Yunus Centre Social Business Design Lab is a four hour long program for the people who are interested in social business. People from different background join this program to learn about Social Business and brainstorm on potential social business ideas.
To participate, please register at: http://goo.gl/QfafHz.
No matter where you are, you can have the opportunity to participate this program through online live-streaming. You can ask question from anywhere in the world about Social Business and different projects (http://goo.gl/8MtYCp) which will be answered by Professor Muhammad Yunus himself. (Please submit your question at: http://goo.gl/dzK2k0)
Software developed by Grameen, a venture of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, in collaboration with Intel has been installed in the computer. The software is used in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Cambodia, among others.
The e-Agriculture project, which has been launched in the district, has brought cheers on the face of local farmers. The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) of Nepal launched e-Agriculture program in the district as a pilot project.
Full report: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=69596
There will be a Q&A session between sessions of Design Lab where Professor Yunus will answer some of your questions on air.
Please submit your Question @ http://goo.gl/cSNbp2
Program Schedule: http://goo.gl/X9LHvb
Watch the Design Lab @ http://goo.gl/cNVueu