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Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad YunusBorn: 28-Jun-1940
Birthplace: Chittagong, Bangladesh

Gender: Male
Religion: Muslim
Race or Ethnicity: Asian/Indian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: Bangladesh
Executive summary: Banker to the Poor

Born in 1940's East Pakistan prior to the independence of Bangladesh, Yunus' family was prosperous and he was able to attend preparatory school and college in his home country, earning a MA in economics. After an excursion into the printing business which he pawned off onto other members of his family, a Fulbright Scholarship and 98th percentile score on the Graduate Record Exam permitted Yunus to attend Vanderbilt University where he earned a doctorate in Economics. He taught in Colorado and now teaches in Bangladesh.

Towards the end of his seven year stay in America, Yunus supported the Bangladeshi freedom movement after West Pakistani forces occupied the capital, Dhaka. Upon returning to Bangladesh and observing the poverty of rural citizens and their dealings with extortionist moneylenders, Yunus came upon the idea of microlending. His discovery was that a tiny bit of money had a great impact if it were lent to the women of Bangladeshi families. After hesitation from banks, a state bank was chartered for this purpose and three million families have received loans. Of these, 46% or so have since escaped poverty (in Bangladeshi terms.)

Yunus' methods have been applied to Burma and in Kosovo, with success. He now is embarking upon an effort to "eliminate poverty entirely" in Bangladesh, and by extension via the U.N. to other places, by using these and similar techniques. In 2007, his Grameen Bank began offering loans to impoverished Americans.

Father: Muhammad Dula Meah (jewelry merchant)
Mother: Sufia Khatun
Wife: Vera Forostenko (m. 1970, div., one daughter)
Daughter: Monica (b. 1979)
Wife: Afrozi (physics professor, m. 1980, one daughter)
Daughter: Deena Afroz Yunus (b. 1986)

    High School: Chittagong Collegiate School, Bangladesh
    University: BA Economics, Dhaka University (1960)
    University: MA Economics, Dhaka University (1961)
    University: PhD Economics, Vanderbilt University (1970)
    Professor: Economics, Middle Tennessee State University (1969-72)

    Grameen Bank Founder (1983)
    Fulbright 1965
    World Food Prize 1994
    Sydney Peace Prize 1998
    Nobel Peace Prize 2006
    King Abdul Aziz Medal 2007
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 12-Aug-2009
    United Nations Foundation Board of Directors
    World Technology Network
    Bengali-Bangladesh Ancestry

Author of books:
Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty (1998, nonfiction)
Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism (2008, nonfiction)
Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs (2010, nonfiction)

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