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Professor Mohammad Yunus

May 1, 2008

I heard an inspiring talk last night given by Nobel Laureate, Mohammad Yunus.  He had never been to Lancaster before, but in his opening remarks he mentioned Mennonite Central Committee.  He expressed appreciation for the tremendous work MCC has done in Bangladesh. 

I was struck by the amazing work Dr. Yunus is doing.  The hopeful way in which he sees possibilities for change–transformation.  The subtle ways he is subverting the “system” that protects the interests of the rich, the well-positioned for success. 

I am intrigued by his upside-down way of defining success.  He lamented the fact that for-profit business has gone from being a means to helping others–through providing goods and services–to an ends.  The end measured by many as the bottom line.  He is promoting an alternative model through which business might be used to help others–social business.  A social business being a model for companies exist with the sole purpose of meeting some social need through their mission (i.e. that every child in Bangladesh might have an affordable pair of shoes to wear). 

Another interesting dynamic is the way is eradicating poverty by empowering women.  They started Grameen Bank with the goal of providing loans to men and women 50/50.  Over time they discovered that money loaned to women yielded greater results in terms of the health of prospects of the family.  Now almost 97 percent of the loans from Grameen Bank are made to women. 

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