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“Old roads lead to old destinations” Redefining economies with Professor Muhammad Yunus

About This Episode

“Rather than marching into global warming and unemployment, we can create our world the way we want.” That’s the message of our guest Professor Muhammad Yunus, who says: “If we imagine that world, we can create that world. Imagination can make it happen.”

As a pioneer of microfinancing with Grameen Bank, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has alleviated poverty for tens of millions of people and given them an economic lifeline, with small loans that look to bring out the entrepreneur in everyone. His ethos is driven by a view of human nature that is innately good, and a world view that critiques our economic structures as having suppressed people’s natural selflessness and creativity. This interview is a story of how when a big idea takes hold, the impossible really does become possible.

Professor Muhammad Yunus

Professor Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, fuelled by the belief that credit is a fundamental human right. His objective was to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves. From Professor Yunus’ personal loan of small amounts of money to destitute basketweavers in Bangladesh in the mid-70s, the Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through microlending. Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide. Professor Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavors, including the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Lockdown List

Is there a book that inspired you/impacted your work?

Not any particular book. Have drawn inspiration from different books at different times.

What is your lockdown soundtrack?

Beethoven, symphony no 5.

Have a listen to the Change Makers Lockdown Playlist.

In one sentence, describe your new normal.

The pandemic has given us a chance to change the direction of the world from total annihilation to creating a new civilization of sharing and caring, and making the planet perpetually safe.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Nelson Mandela. For his commitment to people, rising above race, tribe, political affiliation. Holding on to love for people despite extreme political and physical risks.

What is your best tip for life?

Imagine the world you want to be in, and go for it, defying everything that tries to stop you.

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