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Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus




  • The third of nine children,Yunus was born on 28 June 1940 to a Bengali Muslim family in the village of Bathua, by the Kaptai road in Hathazari, Chittagong in the Bengal Presidency of Bangladesh.
  • His father was Hazi Dula Mia Shoudagar, a jeweler, and his mother was Sufia Khatun. His early childhood was spent in the village. In 1944, his family moved to the city of Chittagong, and he moved from his village school to Lamabazar Primary School
  • Later, he passed the matriculation examination from Chittagong Collegiate. In 1957, he enrolled in the Department of Economics at Dhaka University and completed his BA in 1960 and MA in 1961.


  • After his graduation, Yunus joined the Bureau of Economics as a research assistant to the economics researches of Professor Nurul Islam and Rehman Sobhan.
  • Later, he was appointed lecturer in economics in Chittagong College in 1961.In 1965, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study in the United States.
  • He obtained his PhD in economics from the Vanderbilt University Graduate Program in Economic Development (GPED) in 1971. From 1969 to 1972, Yunus was assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.


  • After 1971 the War, he returned to Bangladesh and was appointed to the government’s Planning Commission headed by Nurul Islam.
  • After observing the famine of 1974, he became involved in poverty reduction and established a rural economic programme as a research project.
  • IIntroduced by president Ziaur Rahman in the late 1970s, the Government formed 40,392 village governments as a fourth layer of government in 2003.
  • His concept of microcredit for supporting innovators in multiple developing countries also inspired welfare programmes.


  • Yunus believed that, given the chance, the poor will repay the money and hence microcredit was a viable business model.
  • Yunus lent US$27 of his money to 42 women in the village, who made a profit of BDT 0.50 (US$0.02) each on the loan. Thus, Yunus is credited with the idea of microcredit.
  • In December 1976, Yunus finally secured a loan from the government Janata Bank to lend to the poor in Jobra. The institution continued to operate, securing loans from other banks for its projects. By 1982, it had 28,000 members.


  • On 1 October 1983, the pilot project began operation as a full-fledged bank for poor Bangladeshis and was renamed Grameen Bank (“Village Bank”).
  • By July 2007, Grameen had issued US$6.38 billion to 7.4 million borrowers.To ensure repayment, the bank uses a system of “solidarity groups”.
  • The fisheries project became Grameen Motsho (“Grameen Fisheries Foundation”) and the irrigation project became Grameen Krishi (“Grameen Agriculture Foundation”).


  • In time, the Grameen initiative grew into a multi-faceted group of profitable and non-profit ventures, including major projects like Grameen Trust and Grameen Fund, which runs equity projects like Grameen Software Limited, Grameen CyberNet Limited, and Grameen Knitwear Limited, as well as Grameen Telecom, which has a stake in Grameenphone (GP), the biggest private phone company in Bangladesh.
  • From its start in March 1997 to 2007, GP’s Village Phone (Polli Phone) project had brought cell-phone ownership to 260,000 rural poor in over 50,000 villages.
  • The success of the Grameen microfinance model inspired similar efforts in about 100 developing countries and even in developed countries including the United States.


  • Yunus was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Grameen Bank. Yunus was the first Bangladeshi to ever get a Nobel Prize.
  • Yunus announced that he would use part of his share of the $1.4 million award money to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food for the poor; while the rest would go toward setting up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh.
  • He is one of only seven persons to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom,and the Congressional Gold Medal.Other notable awards include the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1984.
  • Additionally, Yunus has been awarded 50 honorary doctorate degrees from universities across 20 countries, and 113 international awards from 26 different countries including state honours from 10 countries.


  • In early 2006 Yunus, along with other members of the civil society participated in a campaign for honest and clean candidates in national elections. He considered entering politics in the later part of that year.
  • Yunus finally announced that he is willing to launch a political party tentatively called Citizens’ Power (Nagorik Shakti) on 18 February 2007.
  • March 2011 the Bangladeshi government launched a three-month investigation of all Grameen Bank’s activities.In January 2011, Yunus appeared in court in a defamation case.At the hearing, Yunus was granted bail.These investigations fueled suspicion that many attacks might be politically motivated.


  • Due to difficult relations between Sheikh Hasi when Yunus created his own political party, an effort he dropped in May 2007.
  • The trial of Muhammad Yunus is the series of trials launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh against Muhammad Yunus.
  • The former put the latter on trial in 2010 and ultimately removed him from Grameen Bank,citing that too old to run the Bank which he founded in 1983.
  • In 2013, he was put on trial for a second time because he had supposedly received earnings without the necessary permission from the government, including his Nobel Peace Prize earnings.


  • The Yunus Centre, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is a think tank for issues related to social business, working in the field of poverty alleviation and sustainability.
  • It is ‘aimed primarily at promoting and disseminating Professor Yunus’ philosophy, with a special focus on social business’ and currently chaired by Prof. Muhammad Yunus.