Vol. 5 Num 994 Sun. March 18, 2007  
Front Page

Prof Yunus gets Golden Trailblazer Award 2007

Prof Muhammad Yunus received the 2007 Golden Trailblazer Award by Vital Voices, a US-based organisation of global women leaders working to strengthen democracy, increase economic opportunity and fight human rights abuses around the world.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton handed over the award to Prof Yunus at a function in Washington on Friday, recognising his "extraordinary achievement in providing economic opportunity for millions of women around the globe."

This is the first time a man has been recognised by the global women leadership group.

Yunus received a standing ovation from the distinguished audience, which included many global women leaders. Opera singer Monica Yunus, daughter of Prof Yunus, performed at the function.

Accepting the award, Yunus said: "This is an incredible honour and helps further the understanding and appreciation for how hard the lives of women around the world are and how we can all do something to make a difference."

Later, the Nobel laureate gave a lecture on "Globalisation, Micro-enterprise and Poverty Alleviation" at Georgetown University.

In his lecture, the founder of Grameen Bank focused on the importance of micro-credit and the extension of small loans to underprivileged entrepreneurs in promoting economic and social development among the world's poor.

"In order to redesign the world, we have to go back to the drawing board. We can create a world that we imagine," he said. "So, let's be bold and imagine it. One of the things, I'm sure, that is in your imagination is a world totally free of poverty," said the Nobel laureate.

Georgetown University President John J DeGioia said Prof Yunus "shows us that with ingenuity and determination, we can respond effectively to the moral challenges of globalisation."

Prof Yunus urged the audience to reshape their views on poverty and said, "The poor should be seen as more than their economic status."

He said they are creative beings waiting for an opportunity to develop their talents. The world could eventually stamp out poverty entirely if "destitution is viewed as a human rights violation."

"Poverty is not a creation of the poor. It is created by society at large, by the system at large, by the concepts we teach in our classrooms," Yunus said.

"So, the challenge is to create an enabling environment where every single human being will have the capacity to unleash their creativity."

He also received the "Award for Leadership in Global Trade" from Association of Bi-national Chambers of Commerce in Miami.

Prof Yunus is now on a 20-day visit to US and Europe.

In Italy, he will address the Italian Senate and have meetings with the Italian president, parliament speaker and other dignitaries and dinner with the Italian prime minister.

During his visit to France, Yunus will have meetings with the governor of the Central Bank of France, the mayor of Paris and the foreign minister. In Portugal, he will meet the president and the secretary of state.

In London, Yunus will be accorded a reception by the London borough of Tower Hamlets local government and will give a talk on his concept of "Social Business" at Oxford University.

The Nobel laureate will then travel to Norway at the invitation of the director general of NORAD where he will launch a Norwegian government micro-finance initiative and hold meetings with the Norwegian prime minister and minister of development. He will also attend the launching of a chair named "Dr Muhammad Yunus Development Studies and Micro-finance" at the Norwegian School of Management.

Prof Yunus will return home on April 1.