Convocation to feature Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus

On April 3-4, Elon will celebrate the work of a man who has changed lives of the rural poor around the world through his work with Grameen Bank.

Muhammad Yunus, who is driven by the idea that credit is a basic human right, will headline Elon’s annual Convocation for Honors at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 3 in Alumni Gym. His lecture is titled “Building Social and Humanitarian Businesses.” Admission: $12 or Elon ID.

Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in 1983, establishing a revolutionary microcredit system that allows the rural poor to secure small loans for self-employment and to establish credit without requiring collateral. In 2006 he and the bank jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts “to create economic and social development from below.” As one of the world’s leading pioneers for social business, he uses “the creative vibrancy of business to tackle social problems” that include poverty, pollution, a lack of education, and inadequate health care.

An economist by training, Yunus traveled to the United States on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1965 and earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt University five years later. He taught briefly at Middle Tennessee State University before returning to Bangladesh where he served on the economics faculty at Chittagong University for nearly two decades.

He is the author of three books, including Creating a World Without Poverty, which was selected as the Elon University 2011-12 common reading. Yunus has received several American and international honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the World Food Prize. He currently serves on boards of advisors and boards of directors for several international organizations. He is also the chairman of the Yunus Centre, an organization aimed primarily at promoting and disseminating Yunus’ philosophy around the world. More than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries today operate microcredit programs based on the Grameen Bank model.

Yunus has made remarkable contributions toward eradicating world poverty and is dedicated to social justice. His international perspective complements Elon’s commitment to preparing students to be informed global citizens.

In recognition for his efforts, Yunus will be presented with the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership during a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Koury Business Center. Sponsored by the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the medal recognizes an entrepreneur who is a leader in his or her industry and who exemplifies the values of Elon University.

Also on Wednesday, Yunus will have breakfast with scholars from the Doherty Center, will meet with Elon’s microfinance initiative students and will hold a question-and-answer session with world studies students.

Convocation for Honors will also include the presentation of the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies. Geoffrey D. Claussen, assistant professor of religious studies, will be presented by Alison Morrison-Shetlar, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.

About Convocation for Honors

Each year the Elon University community gathers to recognize academic achievement and philanthropy at the Convocation for Honors. These ideals re flect the commitment to excellence and generosity of spirit that are the heart of a liberal arts and sciences education. Elon seeks to nurture a rich intellectual community and a desire for lifelong learning. This year’s convocation will congratulate the Class of 2012 and students named to the President’s List and Dean’s List in 2011. We celebrate the dedication and innovation of Elon faculty who inspire students every day with their passion for learning and discovery. We recognize our generous community of donors who demonstrate their commitment to quality education by providing the resources to ensure that all of our students will benefit from Elon’s exceptional academic curriculum.