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Yunus Congressional Gold Medal Aptly Honors Commitment to Global Economic Development, Says UN Foundation President & CEO

Washington, D.C. —   April 17, 2013

Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, today congratulated Muhammad Yunus, UN Foundation Board Member, on being awarded a Congressional Gold Medal at the United States Capitol today. Professor Yunus received the medal for his innovative efforts to reduce global poverty. In a statement, Calvin said:

“The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor Congress can give to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to humanity, and this Congress has made an exceptional selection in recognizing Professor Yunus. Today’s award confirms what millions of women and working poor around the world already know: that Professor Yunus is a champion of women’s rights, economic development, and the belief that every human being should have the opportunity to become self-sufficient. Further, it is a reflection of the high value and commitment Congress affords global development as a driver of economic success for us all.

“Twenty-seven dollars started a movement. That’s the amount Professor Yunus loaned to a group of village women in Bangladesh to finance their small businesses in 1976. The success of that loan, and the many others it came to inspire, led to a new business model called microfinance – the groundbreaking idea of offering small, affordable loans to the very poor. Since then, the Grameen Bank, which Professor Yunus established, has empowered millions of impoverished people through microloans and sparked microfinance movements throughout the world.

“Professor Yunus led the Grameen Bank to focus most of its efforts on women because he has seen firsthand the impact empowered women can make on their societies. In fact, 97 percent of the Grameen Bank’s current loan recipients are women. Studies show that when women become economically empowered, their communities flourish. They invest more of their profits in their children and their communities, making them catalysts of global development.

“On behalf of the United Nations Foundation, I congratulate Professor Yunus on this award, and his enduring work building a better world for all people.”


About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit