Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement, is responsible for many innovative programs benefiting the rural poor. He attended Vanderbilt University on a Fulbright Scholarship and received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969. He taught briefly in the US before returning to Bangladesh, where he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University. As a result of the successful implementation of his ideas and the expanding scope of this model he won the Nobel Prize in 2006.
In 1974, Muhammad Yunus pioneered the idea of Gram Sarker (village government) as a form of local government based on the participation of rural people. This concept proved successful and was adopted by the Bangladeshi government in 1980. In 1978, Muhammad Yunus received the President′s award for Tebhaga Khamar (a system of cooperative three-share farming, which the Bangladeshi government adopted as the Packaged Input Program in 1977). Muhammad Yunus is also noted for the creation of “micro-credit,” which provides “micro” loans to the poor and serves as a catalyst for improving their socio-economic conditions.
The UN Secretary-General appointed Professor Muhammad Yunus to the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing from 1993 to 1995. Muhammad Yunus has also served on the Global Commission of Women′s Health (1993-1995), the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development (1993-present), and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance. Professor Muhammad Yunus has received numerous international awards for his work, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award from Manila, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture from Geneva, the Mohamed Shabdeen Award for Science from Sri Lanka, and the World Food Prize from the United States. Within Bangladesh, he has received the President′s Award, the Central Bank Award, and the Independence Day Award, the nation′s highest honour.
Muhammad Yunus is now highly sought after as a speaker at leading conferences around the globe. A highly charismatic figure with a wealth of experience and an uncanny ability to help thousands of people to decide their own destiny.