Friday, August 13, 2010

Nobel Prize-Winning Banker, Economist Muhammad Yunus to Speak at UWG

Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker and economist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, will present a lecture at the University of West Georgia’s Townsend Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Aug. 27 at 3 p.m.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will conclude with Yunus signing copies of his book, “Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs.” The book will be available for purchase for $25.

Yunus is known throughout the world as the “Father of Microcredit” for his role in developing the system that extends small loans to entrepreneurs who are too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus discovered that such loans could make significant differences to impoverished people who are attempting to start a business. His first loan was $27 from his own pocket.

In 1983, he created the Grameen Bank, which specialized in this type of loan in order to promote economic and social development. By 2007, Grameen had issued $6.4 billion in loans to more than 7 million borrowers.

To ensure repayment, the bank employs a system of “solidarity groups,” informal gatherings that apply together for loans and in which members act as co-guarantors of repayment and back each other’s efforts at economic self-advancement.

In 2006, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Yunus and Grameen Bank to honor the efforts to create economic and social development. The Nobel Committee cited Yunus’s actions to benefit millions of people worldwide in fighting poverty.

In addition to “Building Social Business,” Yunus has also authored the books “Banker to the Poor,” and “Creating a World Without Poverty.”

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