DR. MUHAMMAD YUNUS

2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner & Pioneer of Microfinance 'Grameen Bank'

NAJAM KHAN, Research Associate
May 21 - 27, 2007

Profile

Achievement: Nobel Peace Prize in 2006
Commitment: Eliminate poverty through Microfinance
Birth: 1940
Religion: Muslim
Country: Bangladesh
Birth Place: Chittagong
Education: Ph.D. in Economics
Founder: Grameen Bank
Father: Hazi Dula Mia Shoudagar, a Goldsmith
Mother: Sofia Khatun
Commitment: Abolition of poverty

EDUCATION CAREER AND PROFESSION

After done his early education from Lama bazar Primary School at his village continued his further education from Chittagong Collegiate School and passed the matriculation right after when his family moved to Chittagong. He has secured 16th position during his school years among 39,000 students in East Pakistan. In 1957, he enrolled in the department of economics at Dhaka University and completed his BA in 1960 and MA in 1961. He has availed Fulbright scholarship for his Doctorate Degree in economics from Vanderbilt University United States in 1969.

Following his graduation, Yunus joined Bureau of Economics worked as research assistant to Professor Nurul Islam and Rehman Sobhan. From 1969 to 1972 before moving back to Bangladesh he worked as an assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University later appointed as a lecturer of economics in Chittagong College in 1961 after coming back to his mother country.

COMMITMENT TO ELIMINATE POVERTY

Yunus has made the first move for women in fighting poverty during 1974 in Bangladesh. He discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person. His first loan consisted of US$27 from his own pocket, which he lent to women in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University to buy bamboo for making of furniture. They then sold these items to moneylenders to repay them. With a net profit of 5 Bangladeshi taka (.02 USD), the women were unable to support their families. However, traditional banks were not interested in making tiny loans at more reasonable interest rates to poor people, who were considered repayment risks.

During this time, he established a rural economic programme as a research project. In 1974, he developed a Tebhaga Khamar (three share farm) which the government adopted as the Packaged Input Programme. In order to make the project more effective, Yunus and his associates proposed another project called 'Gram Sarkar' (the village government). The government adopted it in 1980, but the succeeding regime later lifted it away.

AWARDS

1978 — President's Award, Bangladesh
1984 — Ramon Magsaysay Award, Philippines
1985 — Bangladesh Bank Award, Bangladesh
1987 — Shwadhinota Dibosh Puroshkar (Independence Day Award), Bangladesh
1989 — Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Switzerland
1993 — CARE Humanitarian Award
1994 — Winner of the World Food Prize
1995 — Winner of the Max Schmidheiny Freedom Prize
1996 — Winner of the UNESCO Simon Bolivar Prize
1997 — Received award from Strψmme Foundation, Norway
1998 — Received Indira Gandhi Prize
1998 — Received Prince of Asturias Award
1998 — Winner of the Sydney Peace Prize
2001 — Named Ashoka Global Academy Member
2004 — Winner of The Economist newspaper's Prize for social and economic innovation.
2006 — Mother Teresa Award instituted by the Mother Teresa International and Millennium Award Committee (MTIMAC), Kolkata India.
2006 — "Freedom from want" Award, one of the Four Freedom Awards; Roosevelt Study Centre.
2006 — 8th Seoul Peace Prize
2006 — Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Grameen Bank
2007 — Vanderbilt University Nichol's Chancellor Award
2007 — 'Order of the Liberator in First Class with Grand Decoration' awarded by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez including 47 other awards total of 63.