Nobel Laureate Urges Students, Educators and Local Leaders to be Job Creators
More than 1,300 students, elected officials and business and global leaders converged at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on Tuesday, April 5 for a conversation with Nobel Laureate and pioneer of the social business movement, Muhammad Yunus.
Yunus, the keynote speaker of the college’s Presidential Speaker Series, urged members of the audience to find self-sustaining business solutions to economic, health care and other social problems. Echoing the title of his address, Yunus told the audience, “We are not job seekers, we are job givers.” He said that everyone, regardless of their profession or station in life, can play a role in transforming lives and communities.
“Unemployment can be turned into entrepreneurship,” said Yunus, who established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983 to make small, uncollateralized loans available to unlikely entrepreneurs – women in rural villages. His concept of micro-financing changed the lives of millions of people around the world. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions. He has been recognized with more than 100 awards from 26 countries.
“Prof. Yunus epitomizes social business and social innovation,” said Becker President, Robert E. Johnson. “We are inspired by him as we move forward in fulfilling our mission to educate socially responsible global citizens.”
Johnson said that Yunus’ visit was planned to coincide with the official launch of the Social Business Centre @ Becker College. Established last year in partnership with the Seven Hills Foundation, the Centre is the first official Yunus Social Business Centre in the United States, and among approximately 15 in the world. Becker College was designated because of its focus on global citizenship, innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset.
The director of the new Centre, David Jordan, also the president and CEO of the Seven Hills Foundation, said, “We envision the centre growing into a national model. It will empower individuals and communities to identify real world problems and create self-sustaining business solutions that have local and global impact.”
During his visit to Worcester, Yunus met with local leaders at UMass Memorial Health Care, and toured Summit Eldercare, a Fallon Health initiative.
Yunus will move on to Boston on Wednesday, April 6, along with Becker College leadership and David Jordan, to meet with leaders from the Boston health care, business, government and financial sectors. The itinerary includes meetings with the Mass Business Roundtable, New England Council, New Profit and Bain Capital; a tour of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center; and “A Call to Action: The Best Minds in Health Care Address Access for All,” at MCPHS University.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Vaughn Calhoun