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.

Good Morning:

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 At any moment I could have withdrawn myself from my unknown path, but I did not.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 »

The 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award
at the Ashden Awards ceremony in London on Thursday
Staff Correspondent -The Daily Mail – Saturday, June 21, 2008

Collated by Brother Shafi

Grameen Shakti, which has installed 150,000 solar home systems in the country and is adding around 5,000 new systems each month, was awarded the 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award at the Ashden Awards ceremony in London on Thursday.
The non-profit organisation — a 2006 Ashden Awards prizewinner — bagged the award for its role in income generation among rural population through installation of solar home systems, says a press release received in Dhaka.
The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy was founded in 2001 by the Ashden Trust, a Britain-based charity that works to increase the use of local sustainable energy worldwide. Read the rest of this entry »

Gaziul Hasan Khan in Daily Star looks at the options in the Nobel laureate’s new book Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Peace laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer of collateral free small credit to poor women, is in quest of harnessing free market power to solve the problems of poverty, hunger and inequality across the world. Grameen Bank, which he founded more than three decades ago to reach collateral free credit to the target group at their doorstep, has been replicated in all the continents to benefit over 100 million families. But he remains far from satisfied as poverty, hunger and inequality continue to trouble the world as well as his native Bangladesh. If the dynamics of capitalism could be applied properly, he believes, poverty, the greatest challenge, facing mankind, could be tackled to a great extent. Read the rest of this entry »

The Christian Science Monitor made an analysis of the power of the social business:

Bill Gates caused a stir in Davos last month with his call for “creative capitalism.” He pointed out that while capitalism is “responsible for the great innovations that have improved the lives of billions … to harness this power so it benefits everyone, we need to refine the system.”

I see traditional capitalism as a half-developed structure. It ignores the humanity within all of us. Read the rest of this entry »

ARVIND ASHTA of Burgundy School of Business (ESC Dijon), France – CEREN
made a critical look at the concept of creating a world without poverty and social business

Abstract:
In a stimulating book, Yunus introduces the concept of social business and would like to propagate it. Two different models of social business are proposed: a profit making company owned by the poor or a non-dividend issuing company targeting social issues. The first model suffers from the ability to define poor and monitor shareholding and the living standards of shareholders. The second model suffers from the fact that liquidating dividend is sufficient for profits ultimately to be made when the mission is over. Other issues are commented upon.

Keywords: Social business, poverty, behavioral finance, stakeholder theory, economic development, microfinance

Download the document from:
Social Science Research Network
Chicago GSB
European Corporate Governance Institute
Korea University
Stanford Law School

Michael Fitzerald summed up in his blog ‘Big Think’
I’ve been reviewing Creating A World Without Poverty, Muhammad Yunus’ visionary book about a new kind of capitalism.

I looked at the book in three parts:

Muhammad Yunus: Capitalism Is Half-Baked

How Muhammad Yunus Created an Impossible Business

Muhammad Yunus On How to End Poverty

Big Think’s breakdown: Businesspeople of all persuasions should read the first two chapters, and keep going if they have an interest. And they should have an interest — the book is clearly written and social business is a growing phenomenon (witness Google’s emerging Foundation, in the news last week for announcing its plans). Yunus is an economist and a CEO, and his vision comes out of his practical experience. That experience will be widely useful to companies that want to understand what it takes to create a social business, and what they might mean for markets (on one level, Yunus is showing how to tap gigantic groups of consumers).

It’s a bonus when, towards the end, he tells Warren Buffett what he should have done with his billions, instead of giving it to the Gates Foundation (start a social business to create universal health insurance in the U.S.). It isn’t a bad idea, and there are plenty of other good ones in the book.

Some other reviews:

Muhammad Yunus: creating a world without poverty, Austin American-Statesman

Banker to the Poor Finds Way To Branch Out, Boston Globe (free registration required)

Firedoglake’s Book Salon with Muhammad Yunus

A recap of Yunus’ appearance at the Milken Institute
(includes audio)

Yunus on All Things Considered (includes a nine-minute interview)

His U.S. book tour, which runs through January 24.

Green Skeptic

May 24, 2008

Green Skeptic reviews the book in his blog

Can we unleash the power of free markets to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and climate change? This is a question we ask all the time at The Green Skeptic. We believe in the power of free markets and the most creative business models to address the most pressing problems of the day.

Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, with which he pioneered microcredit and later received the Nobel Peace Prize, has written an engaging book that examines a new approach to purpose-driven business models: he calls it “social business.” Read the rest of this entry »