Monday, August 3, 2009

Muhammad Yunus Honored by Obama

Last week, the White House announced that Professor Muhammad Yunus will be one of the recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Freedom is bestowed by the President and is the highest civilian award in the United States. President Obama said: "These outstanding men and women represent an incredible diversity of backgrounds. Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs. Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way. Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive. It is my great honor to award them the Medal of Freedom."
When Dr. Yunus receives his award, he will be joining a distinguished group of individuals that includes Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. Adds Warner P. Woodworth, Social Entrepreneur & Professor, Organizational Leadership & Strategy, Marriott School, BYU: "I have had the privilege of working with Professor Yunus for over a decade as he has advised a number of the NGOs my partners and I have established around the globe. From those little efforts, mostly launched with BYU students using my courses as incubators for global change, over 50 projects have been launched, and 22 have become NGOs. Last year alone, we collectively raised more than $46 million, trained approximately 340,000 microentrepreneurs, and grew our client base to about 6.1 million impoverished individuals who received a loan during 2008."..."While critics say the poor are lazy and that they are irresponsible, our microcredit experience, not only in the Third World, but also now in America, is that they simply need an opportunity. Our NYC outstanding loan portfolio has grown to over $950,000, and these borrowers have also cumulatively saved over $150,000, which demonstrates the impact of our savings program ( <>)."

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