Muhammad Yunus (1940 -)
Banker to the Poorest of the PoorMuhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 for their work to “create economic and social development from below”. Grameen Bank's objective since its establishment in 1983 has been to grant poor people small loans on easy terms - so-called micro-credit - and Yunus was the bank's founder. In 1972, following studies in Bangladesh and the USA, Yunus was appointed professor of economics at the University of Chittagong. When Bangladesh suffered a famine in 1974, he felt that he had to do something more for the poor beyond simply teaching. He decided to give long-term loans to people who wanted to start their own small enterprises. This initiative was extended on a larger scale through Grameen Bank. According to Yunus, poverty means being deprived of all human value. He regards micro-credit both as a human right and as an effective means of emerging from poverty: “Lend the poor money in amounts which suit them, teach them a few basic financial principles, and they generally manage on their own”, Yunus claims.