Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Winner

It's been a Nobel Prize Winner Week.  Lastnight I attended a talk and book signing of Dr Muhammad Yunis.  Dr Yunis was born in Bangladesh.  He studied economics at University and went onto develop the Grameen Bank, a hugely successful microcredit bank that pioneered the micro-financing and micro-credit industry that is a hallmark of economic development and foreign aid in the developing world today.

To hear Dr Yunus speak was a real honour.  Whilst he appears to be a quiet and gentle man, it is obvious that he is a goliath when it comes to business and economics.  Today he has expanded his interests to partnering with large multinationals to develop sustainable and affordable products for the developing world.  His first partnership was with Danone, the European dairy company.  Not content with a tasty, affordable, yogurt that contained additional micronutrients to correct for the deficiencies that are endemic in South Asia, Dr Yunus insisted that the yogurt container be both bio-degradable and edible.  Suprisingly Danone responded to the challenge and a nutionally enhanced, tasteful yogurt in an edible corn-based container is currently being made commercially available in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Dr Yunus's second partnership was with Volkswagon.  Here he requested that the company develop a 'relatively' environmentally friendly car.  Although this time his caveat to partnering with him was that the car's engine be readily removable so that it could be used as a generator or water-pump when not being used for locomotion.  This project is still in development, but again Volkswagon agreed to his specifications.

Not only does Dr Yunus believe in equal access and opportunity for the poorest of today's poor, his actions force individuals and companies to reflect on their behaviour and strive for the apparent "impossible".  His talk reminded me of Kev Carmody's song "From Little Things, Big Things Grow".  It's easy to forget this in the daily rush of life.  Who better to remind you than a Nobel Peace Prize Winner?

1 comment:

jane_8888 said...

wow bear, sounds like you have been to some very educational/inspiring talks for so early in the term!
it's been very very hot in melbourne, so work has been busy with people trying to escape. i have also been spending a bit of time thinking about what i want to do post-uni, as it has finally occurred to me that i finish in the near future... no closer to any certain plans though!
xoxo Jane