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2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Yunus to share his initiative on social business

The Tuskegee News of Tuskegee, Alabama

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A personal relationship between Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and Dr. Mohammad Bhuiyan of Tuskegee University could prove very beneficial to Tuskegee, Macon County and the State of Alabama.

The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Yunus will make his second visit to the Tuskegee area Friday (Jan. 18) to fulfill a promise and challenge he made to university and area officials to help Tuskegee/Macon County move from "One of the Poorest Areas" to a "Model Area." The event is the Social Business Forum.

Known as the Father of Micro credit, Dr. Yunus is an advocate for the poor and promotes the idea of moving people out of the welfare system and making them productive members of society, according to Dr. Bhuiyan.

Dr. Yunus is one of seven people in the world who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

During his visit to Tuskegee on May 11, 2012 when he delivered the commencement address for Tuskegee University's graduation, Dr. Yunus issued his challenge to improve the economic environment of Tuskegee and Macon


Dr. Yunus of Bangladesh believes that credit is a fundamental human right. He created the Grameen Bank, a microlending institution in 1983 that developed into an international microlending movement as a way to help poor people escape poverty and aid the economies of developing nations.

What started with a $27 personal loan to a group of poor craftsmen has grown into nearly 2,600 Grameen branches in Bangladesh that employs 19,800 staffers and serves 8.29 million borrowers in 81,367 villages.

Now used in 58 countries, including the United States, Grameen collects an average of $1.5 million in weekly installments. With 97 percent of its loans paid back, Grameen's recovery rate is the highest of any banking system.

The Friday, Jan. 18 visit by Dr. Yunus will involve local high schools, Tuskegee University and other institutions of higher learning in Alabama.

According to Dr. Bhuiyan, who serves as TU's Vice President for Innovation and Sustainable Development, Dr. Yunus has invited leaders from around the country to think about ways to get involved and help by visiting the area to get a first-hand understanding of the extent of the needs. More than 150 business leaders from across the United States are expected to Friday's conference.

The idea is to work together to discuss ideas about how to develop strategies to help all of the local communities in Alabama that could be a model state for the rest of the country in solving social problems and creating jobs.

Dr. Yunus has created many social businesses to solve local social problems and in the process created many jobs that in turn have fueled economic growth.

"We can all take advantage of his (Dr. Yunus') commitment to this state," said Dr. Bhuiyan, who offered thanks to the conference's many sponsors and to Tuskegee University President Dr. Gilbert Rochon, a supporter of the event from the start.

Dr. Yunus has asked campus leaders in the state to encourage their students to look at the social problems in their own communities and design a social business, which is a business for profit with no dividend. The profit stays in the business for growth and sustainability. Workers receive competitive market value salaries, but no part of the profit as a dividend.

Friday's program will involve up to four teams from each participating university from throughout Alabama. A panel of judges from across the country will evaluate the plans and declare winners. Dr. Yunus will present the trophies.

Foundations and other investors attending will examine those businesses for possible funding. The "Matthew and Roberta Jenkins Family Foundation is one of the major supporters of the event.

Dr. Yunus' initial appearance for Friday's state-wide conference will be at Booker T Washington High School from noon to 1:45 p.m. where he will speak to students from BTW and Notasulga High Schools. Student presentations from those BTW and NHS could be part of the program

A 1 p.m. reception will be held at BTW with Dr. Yunus departing for Tuskegee University by 1:45 p.m., according Dr. Jacqueline Brooks, superintendent of Macon County schools. Registration at TU will be from 12:30 through 1:30 p.m. at the Kellogg Conference Center Lobby. Those who have not already registered may contact Dr. Bhuiyan at

Program Agenda

Following Dr. Yunus' appearance at BTW High School and registration, the agenda at Tuskegee University's Kellogg Conference Center is is as follows:

First-round presentations of social business plans at Tuskegee University before panels of judges from across the country: Meeting Rooms A, B and D, 1:35-2:30 p.m.

Main Event, Kellogg Ballroom, introduction: By Dr. Mohammad Bhuiyan, 2;45 p.m..

Greetings: Shamima Amin, Chief of Staff,' Tuskegee University! Jay Gouge, President of Auburn University; Johnny

Ford, Mayor of Tuskegee; and Louis Maxwell, Chairman of the Macon County Commission, 2:50 p.m.

Introduction of keynote speaker: Matthew Jenkins, Board Chairman, Tuskegee University Foundation, 3 p.m.

Keynote Address: Dr. Muhammad Yunus, 3:05 p.m.

Final-round presentations: 3:45 p.m.

Awards ceremony: 4:45 p.m.

Closing remarks: 4:55 p.m. Adjourn: 5 p.m.

Dinner event (paid ticket required), reception and dinner: 5:15 p.m.

Introduction, Dr. Mohammad Bhuiyan

Greetings: Dr. Luther Williams, TU Executive Vice President and Provost

Dinner Served: 5;25 p.m.

Questions-and-Answers session with Dr. Yunus, 6:15 p.m.

Adjourn: 6:45 p.m.

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Original Publication Date: January 17, 2013

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