Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus implemented his creative ideas, hard work, and dedication in his brilliant concept of microcredit throughout Bangladesh and the globe, which has made brilliant contributions helping millions of the poor. His work has helped men and especially women take charge of their lives to overcome heartbreaking poverty.
Professor Yunus received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his efforts toward combating global poverty. Yunus is only the seventh person in history to have won both the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, another of America's prestigious civilian awards. The achievement places him in the company of Norman Borlaug, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Mother Teresa— people who have also received the two medals as well as the Nobel Peace Prize.
Professor Muhammad Yunus is the revolutionary founder of the Grameen Movement. His pioneering ideas that pair capitalism and social responsibility have forever changed social and rural economic development. On any working day, Grameen collects an average of $1.5 million in weekly installments. Of the borrowers, 94% are women and over 98% of the loans are paid back, a recovery rate higher than any other banking system. Professor Yunus is also responsible for several groundbreaking programs benefiting the poor rural communities and their citizens. In 1974, he developed Gram Sarker, or village government, as a new form of government centered on rural people’s participation. This concept proved so successful that it was adopted in 1980 by the Bangladeshi government. In 1978, he was honored with the President’s award for Tebhaga Khamar, his system of cooperative three-share farming. This system was adopted by the Bangladeshi government as the Packaged Input Program.
Yunus was a Fulbright Scholar at Vanderbilt University, and in 1979 received his Ph.D. in Economics. That same year, he began an assistant professorship in Economics at Middle Tennessee State University, and then returned to Bangladesh to join Chittagong University’s Economics Department.
The documentary, To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America, portrays Yunus’ passion for microfinance and his messages about social business. Filmed over a three-year period, the documentary captures Yunus’ critical discovery of micro lending, which led to the official opening of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.
In his speech "Achieving Lasting Peace by Eradicating Poverty," Yunus discusses the gap between those helping themselves and those seeking help from the job market, and how economic institutions and formal systems need to take notice of more than job market trends, as they don’t account for the poor and their struggle. During his other speech, "Halving Poverty by 2015," he presents an ambitious goal—cutting poverty in half by 2015. He is convinced that, given the right opportunities, the poor can create a poverty-free existence on their own. He bases this philosophy on his work with poor people around the world.