Muhammad Yunus

Founder,
Grameen Bank

As founder of the Grameen movement, Professor Muhammad Yunus is a revolutionary. His ideas couple capitalism with social responsibility and have changed the face of rural economic and social development forever. Professor Yunus is responsible for many innovative programs benefiting the rural poor. In 1974, he pioneered the idea of Gram Sarker (village government) as a form of local government based on the participation of rural people. A Fulbright Scholar at Vanderbilt University, Professor Yunus received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969. Later that year, he became an assistant professor of Economics at Middle Tennessee State University, before returning to Bangladesh where he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University. The U.N. Secretary General appointed Professor Yunus to the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing from 1993 to 1995. Professor Yunus has also served on the Global Commission of Women’s Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development, and the U.N. Expert Group on Women and Finance. He was the first chair of the Policy Advisory Group (PAG) of Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP). Professor Yunus also sits on the board of the United Nations Foundation, Grameen Foundation-USA, Calvert World Values Fund, the Foundation for International Community Assistance, the National Council for Freedom From Hunger, RESULTS and the International Council of Ashoka Foundation, all of which are located in the U.S. Professor Yunus has received the following International awards: the Ramon Magsaysay Award from Philippines; the Aga Khan Award for Architecture from Switzerland; the Mohamed Shabdeen Award for Science from Sri Lanka; the World Food Prize by World Food Prize Foundation from the U.S.; Indira Gandhi Award from India; Roma Award for Peace and Humanitarian Action from Italy; King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award from Jordan and Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize from Japan. Within Bangladesh, he has received the President’s Award, the Central Bank Award, and the Independence Day Award, the nation’s highest award. He has also received several honorary degrees from academic institutions around the world. He is appointed an International Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS by the United Nations.