Nobel Prize winner to talk on poverty

Muhammad Yunus, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Grameen Bank, will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel Tuesday about social businesses and how they can establish and sustain peace in repressive societies.

His lecture, ‘Creating a World Without Poverty,’ has the same name as his 2007 book, which also focuses on social business.

The Grameen Bank, founded in Bangladesh, loans small amounts of money to people living in poverty to help them achieve a better lifestyle. His system has inspired microlending in developing countries and communities worldwide, including Syracuse’s South Side.

Yunus and the bank received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for giving people in oppressive societies – mostly women – the opportunity to buy food and resources to start small businesses. He is credited with empowering impoverished people and women around the world.

Farhana Sultana, a geography professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said students at SU can learn from Yunus’ model of social business and morally responsible economics, developed in the 1970s.

Sultana hopes the talk will make students consider how to imagine a different future with less poverty, she said.

In times of crisis, it’s important for students to think outside of the box, Sultana said. Students should consider that economic growth could focus on more than the bottom line and the top few, she said.

Esther Gray, who books speakers for SU’s University Lecture Series, said Yunus has been on her ‘wish list’ for years. A year and a half ago, the university finally got through to him, she said.

Yunus will also speak to community members and students tomorrow in closed sessions.

Gray said she expects Hendricks Chapel to exceed capacity with community members, SU students and students from other schools, such as Cornell University and the University of Rochester.


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