Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh)
Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Movement and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, 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 U.S. before returning to Bangladesh, where he joined the Economics Department at Chittagong University.
In 1974, Dr. 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, 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). Dr. 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.
Dr. Yunus has received widespread recognition for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize, 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 honor.
Dr. Yunus lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is married with two daughters.