University honors Muhammad Yunus with Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award

Left to right: David Ives, director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute; Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate; and Matthew O'Connor, dean of the School of Business

March 13 - Quinnipiac University presented its Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award to Muhammad Yunus, who founded the practice of microcredit as a means to combat global poverty before his March 6 lecture at the university. Yunus, who was awarded Quinnipiac's most prestigious humanitarian award, also accepted an invitation to join the Albert Schweitzer Institute's honorary board.

"Dr. Yunus has demonstrated a life-long commitment to finding creative solutions to some of life's most challenging problems," said Mark Thompson, senior vice president for academic and student affairs.

"Dr. Yunus has made significant contributions in the area of international business. In addition to microloans, his innovative idea of social business has also attracted a lot of attention in international forums, including the World Economic Forum in Davos," said Mohammad Elahee, professor and chair of international business in the School of Business. "Many global firms, especially those based in Europe, are now setting up social businesses. For example, Danone has set up a yogurt factory in Bangladesh to provide nutrient fortified yogurt for malnourished children in Bangladesh. The concepts of microloans and social business have no boundary."

After receiving the award, the Nobel Laureate urged the university community to find creative solutions to the world's problems.

"Poverty is not created by the poor," Yunus said. "Poverty is imposed upon them."

He said he has founded social businesses to do everything from giving out loans to the poor to powering homes throughout Bangladesh to creating forests in Haiti.

"Every single problem can be converted into a social business," he said. "We are using our creative power to make money, but creativity works both ways. You can make money and solve problems."

Yunus encouraged his audience to help others and do good.

"Poverty should be in the museums, not in human society," he said. "We live in a world where not a single person should be unemployed. We should create a system where no one is unemployed."

Yunus is the second recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award. President Jimmy Carter was honored with the award in 2007.

Yunus also received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.

Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavors, including the Mohamed Shabdeen Award for Science (1993), Sri Lanka; Humanitarian Award (1993), CARE, USA; World Food Prize (1994), World Food Prize Foundation, USA; Independence Day Award (1987), Bangladesh's highest award; King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award (2000), King Hussein Foundation, Jordan; Volvo Environment Prize (2003), Volvo Environment Prize Foundation, Sweden; Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth (2004), Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan; Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Award (2006), Roosevelt Institute of The Netherlands; and the Seoul Peace Prize (2006), Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, Seoul, Korea. He also is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation.