Dr. Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, spurred by a vision for lifting people out of poverty. His objective was to create a new category of banking that would grant millions of small loans to poor people with no collateral. This endeavor helped to establish the microcredit movement across the developing world, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2006. That year, Dr. Yunus established the Yunus Centre as an economic policy resource center to disseminate his philosophy and practices.
From Dr. Yunus's personal loan of small amounts of money to destitute basket-weavers in Bangladesh in the mid-1970s, the Grameen Bank has advanced to the fore of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through microlending. Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than a hundred countries worldwide.
Born in 1940 in the seaport city of Chittagong, Dr. Yunus studied at Dhaka University in what was then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. He received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University, where he received a PhD in economics in 1969. The following year he became an assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University. Returning to Bangladesh after it achieved independence in 1971, Dr, Yunus headed the economics department at Chittagong University.
Dr. Yunus has been a member of the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women, a post to which he was appointed by the United Nations secretary general, and has served on the Global Commission of Women's Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development, and the United Nations Expert Group on Women and Finance. He is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation.
The recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavors, including the Nobel Peace Prize, he will be honored with conferral of the degree of Doctor of Letters at Emory University's main commencement ceremony on the Quadrangle on May 14, 2012.