September 5, 2008
Below is the prepared text of the Commencement address by Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, for MIT’s 142nd Commencement held June 6, 2008.
It as a very special privilege for me to speak at the commencement ceremony of this prestigious institution.
What a wonderful feeling to be here today. To be with all of you, some of the brightest minds in the world, right at a moment when you decide the path you will embark on in life. You represent the future of the world. The choices that you will make for yourself will decide the fate of mankind. This is how it has always been. Sometimes we are aware of it, most of the time we are not. I hope you’ll remain aware of it and make an effort to be remembered not simply as a creative generation but as a socially-conscious creative generation. Try it.
I had no idea whether my life would someday be relevant to anyone else’s. But in the mid-seventies, out of frustration with the terrible economic situation in Bangladesh I decided to see if I could make myself useful to one poor person a day in the village next door to the university campus where I was teaching. I found myself in an unfamiliar situation. Out of necessity I had to find a way out. Since I did not have a road-map, I had to fall back on my basic instinct to do that. At any moment I could have withdrawn myself from my unknown path, but I did not. I stubbornly went on to find my own way. Luckily, at the end, I found it. That was microcredit and Grameen Bank. Read the rest of this entry »