Muhammad Yunus

Bangladeshi Economist, Founder Grammen Bank
1996 International Simón Bolívar Prize
1998 Sydney Peace Prize Winner
2000 Gandhi Peace Prize
2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Ashoka Fellow | The Elders

birthdate: June 28
Chittagong, Bangladesh

Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist, banker, and social entrepreneur who was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Known as the "Banker to the Poor, Muhammad Yunus is one of the earliest and most well-known advocates of 'micro-lending' -- making small loans to the poor so that they can invest in trades, crafts or services to earn their livelihood.

After teaching economics, Professor Yunus decided to try to put his theories about micro-credit into practice in his country. In 1976 he started the Grameen Bank Project ('grameen' means 'village'), which grew into an official bank in 1983. Conventional banks said it would be impossible to successfully lend to the poor, but after three decades, Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank have proven that micro-credit is a powerful tool in the struggle against poverty. Today the Grameen Bank offers credit to 7 million poor people in Bangladesh. Its success has inspired similar micro-credit practices in nearly 60 countries. In 2007, Muhammad Yunus was one of the founding members of The Elders, an international group of some of the world's leading social change advocates.

For his inspiring work, Dr. Yunus has received numerous other awards and honors, including the World Food Prize and the Sydney Peace Prize, and Business Week named him one of "The Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time."

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