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The Nobel Peace Prize to Mohamed Yunus and the people of Bangladesh
an article by David Adams

In accepting the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace, Mohamed Yunus gave credit to the people of Bangladesh: "what moves me most are the calls I get almost daily, from the borrowers of Grameen Bank in remote Bangladeshi villages, who just want to say how proud they are to have received this recognition." By his side were nine elected representatives of the 7 million borrowers (of whom 97% are women), and, as Yunus stated, "All borrowers of Grameen Bank are celebrating this day as the greatest day of their lives. They are gathering around the nearest television set in their villages all over Bangladesh, along with other villagers, to watch the proceedings of this ceremony."

It was the poor women of Bangladesh who repaid the small loans that Yunus began to make in 1974 enabling them to run their own small businesses of weaving, and later telephones. It was they who made the Grameen Bank such a success that the World Bank was forced to study its methods and begin to revise its procedures. While the World Bank makes poor people poorer the Grameen Bank makes poor people wealthier.

In his Nobel Prize speech, Yunus offered a new dream for today's youth, inviting them to become a new kind of entrepreneur that "can change the character of capitalism radically." He called for "social business" to replace "profit-maximizing business." Investors could get back their investment, but would not take any dividend from the company. "Profit would be ploughed back into the company to expand its outreach and improve the quality of its product or service."

Yunus has announced that he will form a new political party in Bangladesh based on the 7 million Grameen Bank participants. This comes at a critical time when democratic governance has broken down in Bangladesh and the military has taken control. According the New York Times, political activity has been shut down. Political meetings are barred. It is against the law to criticize the government. The police and army have arrested more than 40,000 people, according to some estimates.


Question(s) related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?,

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Latest reader comment:

Once again, as they have done now each year since 2009, the Nobel Women's Initiative provides biographies of 16 women leaders involved in local action for peace and justice around the world, and in particular to stop violence against women.  Last year's biographies were listed in the CPNN discussionboard.

This report was posted on March 26, 2007.