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Nobel Peace Prize recipient will give first University Lecture for spring

February 04, 2010

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, founder of The Grameen Bank and creator of the global practice of micro-lending, will visit Syracuse University on Tuesday, Feb. 23, as the first offering in a pre-eminent series of University Lectures presentations for spring 2010.

Yunus, who has worked for nearly four decades to eradicate poverty through micro-lending, will speak on “Creating a World Without Poverty” at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. The event is free and open to the public; reduced-rate parking is available in the Irving Garage. A sign language interpreter and CART will be available for this lecture.

Additionally, SU Food Services will feature a Bangladeshi dinner menu in its campus dining centers on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Yunus’ personal loans of small amounts of money to destitute basket weavers in Bangladesh in the mid-1970s planted the seeds for the Grameen Bank Project, which Yunus directed from 1976-83. The Grameen Bank was established in 1983, and Yunus has served as managing director since that time. The objective of the Grameen Bank is to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans without collateral to support income-generating activities.

Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through micro-lending. The bank now has eight million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women, and has lent over $8.26 billion with a near 100 percent repayment rate.

Yunus is the recipient of the World Food Prize (1994) and the Sydney Peace Prize (1998). In 2006, he received the Seoul Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize. This past August, Yunus was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Yunus was professor of economics and director of the Rural Economics Program at Chittagong University in Bangladesh from 1975-89. He is the author of “Banker to the Poor” (2003) and “Creating a World Without Poverty” (2008).

Now in its ninth season, University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment. The series is supported by the generosity of SU trustees, alumni and friends. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Other lecturers for the 2010 spring semester are:

• March 2—sustainability expert Alex Steffen (This lecture is at 4 p.m.)
• March 9—Scott Simon, host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition”
• April 6—Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (This lecture was rescheduled from the fall semester due to a conflict in Edelman’s schedule.)
• April 13—Nobel laureate and poet Seamus Heaney

The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. To recommend a speaker, or for additional information about the University Lectures, contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 443-2941 or More information can be found at the University Lectures website,

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