The 2008 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award
Professor Muhammad Yunus, pioneer of microcredit and founder of Grameen Bank, is the recipient of the 2008 James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award. Dr. Yunus will accept this distinguished honor during The Tech Awards Gala on November 12, 2008 where he and 25 innovators from around the world will be celebrated for applying technology to solve the most urgent issues facing humanity.
"For more than three decades, Muhammad Yunus' broad vision, creativity and leadership have improved the lives of millions through innovative, micro-financing practices," said Mike Splinter, president and chief executive officer of Applied Materials. "We are pleased to honor Muhammad Yunus, whose selfless mission and ability to inspire others to take action exemplifies the spirit of The Tech Awards."
Often referred to as "the world's banker to the poor," Yunus developed a benchmark microcredit application through his Grameen Bank which allows the rural poor access to micro-loans for entrepreneurial enterprises such as purchasing livestock and procuring weaving materials. Yunus' vision of a world without poverty has been the inspiration for his life's work. Yunus and Grameen Bank were awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for their significant contributions in the field of microcredit.
In 1976, Yunus determined that a mere $27 loan could transform the lives of many of the poorest villagers in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Since then, under Yunus' leadership his bank has provided more than $6.8 billion in small loans to would-be entrepreneurs who conventionally would not qualify for such loans from traditional banks, the majority of whom are women in businesses such as street vending and farming. Today, Grameen Bank operates 2,499 branches in more than 81,000 villages throughout rural Bangladesh.
"I am honored to be named the recipient of this year's James C. Morgan Humanitarian Award," said Muhammad Yunus. "Through Grameen Bank, we are demonstrating our commitment to obtain social justice for all and receiving this award further recognizes the great work of all those who have strived to make this a reality."
"Given that so many of our Awards Laureates are from other countries and continents, it makes great sense to welcome someone from across the world to our distinguished group of Global Humanitarian Award winners," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech Museum of Innovation. "Like many of our Laureates, Yunus started with a simple but profound idea that has since been adopted by many institutions, creating a life-changing economic solution for millions. He truly embodies the essence of a global humanitarian."