12:00 AM, September 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 13, 2018

Italian university sets up Yunus Social Business Centre

The University of Basilicata in Italy has established a Yunus Social Business Centre in order to tackle unemployment, especially among the youth, by implementing the principles of Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus.

This is the third Yunus Social Business Centre in Italy and 60th in the world. Prof Yunus signed a memorandum of understanding with the university in Matera during his visit to the ancient city. He is in Italy for meetings with the leaders of Five Star Movement party, which won the majority of seats in parliament, said Yunus Centre in Dhaka in a statement on Sunday.

During its election campaign, the Five Star Movement party said it would follow the policies and actions promoted by Prof Yunus. Established in 1982, the University of Basilicata is located in both Potenza, the capital city of Basilicata, and Matera. It is well-known for being a public research university.

By joining the YSBC community, it becomes the third YSBC established in Italy after the University of Florence and the University of Bologna. Italy has also established a Social Business City in Pistoia.   

A Yunus Social Business Centre is a research hub and engages the faculty and student body of universities as well as the community to incubate and establish a social business that addresses the pressing problems in that society, following the principles of Prof Yunus.  YSBCs work as a network with support from Yunus Centre in Bangladesh.

During the visit, Prof Yunus addressed a gathering of leading citizens, mayor and councillors of the City of Matera, leaders of all political parties, as well as faculty members and students of the university.

The finance minister of Basilicata requested Prof Yunus to start a programme to transform the unemployed youth of Basilicata into entrepreneurs. Youth unemployment in Basilicata is more than 40 percent. The minister told the Nobel Laureate that he would propose collaboration with Yunus Centre in his next budget speech, said the statement.

Matera has been selected by the European Union as the Cultural Capital of the EU for 2019. The "Matera 2019" has been formed by the city of Matera to celebrate the year.

The president of "Matera 2019" proposed to hold a Social Business Conference at the ministerial level for all Mediterranean countries. He sought support from Yunus Centre to make this possible and get commitment to social business from the Mediterranean countries.