Yunus to deliver commencement address
Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus would deliver the commencement address at Duke University in the USA on May 15 next, according to an announcement of the university on Friday.
Duke President Richard H Brodhead said Duke is honoured to have Yunus speak at next year's commencement ceremony which is held at Wallace Wade Stadium on its campus and is open to the public, said a news item of the university in Durham NC.
“Recognising that entrepreneurship is a fundamental human gift, Muhammad Yunus has created a viable business model for the world's poor, using his academic training to unleash human potential around the globe,” Brodhead said. “He will give our graduates an inspiring example of education's far-reaching power.”
Catalina Blanco, a Duke senior from Bogota, Colombia, who was part of a group of students, advised the president on the selection of the commencement speaker, saying Yunus “was one of the people we were rooting for. I think that he stood out to all of us.”
Added Taren Greenidge, a third-year law student from Rochester, NY, “I think it's so great to have someone who's so relevant today, who can impact people.”
Duke would confer an honorary degree on Yunus during the function, according to a news release yesterday. Yunus is the author of books such as “Banker to the Poor: The Autobiography of Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank,” and “Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism.”
Yunus is considered the father of microfinance, a concept he developed as an economics professor that provides loans to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.
In 2006, he and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” In addition to the prize, President Barack Obama awarded Yunus the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honour.
Yunus, 69, serves on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities.
Yunus is also a founding board member of Grameen America, a microfinance non-profit organisation, which provides loans, savings programmes, credit establishment and other financial services to entrepreneurs living below the poverty line in the United States.
He is a founding board member of Grameen Foundation, which works to reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab world and the Americas.
Yunus has served on the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Global Commission of Women's Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance.