Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Muhammad Yunus visits a Californian University

A new school for social business is about to open at a Californian State University. Social Business is a concept that Muhammad Yunus began to popularize through his idea of microcredit. Social Business strives to provide benefits to the people to fix social ills instead of maximizing profit.

From the Ventura County Star, reporter Jean Cowden Moore recorded Yunus' visit.

Muhammad Yunus, an economist who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, spoke at CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo, which is planning to form an Institute for Social Business. The institute, which could open this winter, would teach and research social business — an increasingly popular business model that promotes social responsibility along with profit.

“It’s a new idea of business,” Yunus said in an interview Monday afternoon. “It’s something they should understand — that business can be done for maximizing social impact.”

Yunus shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Grameen Bank, which he founded in Bangladesh in 1983 to provide small loans to impoverished people, mostly women, so they could start their own businesses. The bank now operates in Bangladesh, Kosovo, Turkey, China, Costa Rica, Guatemala and the United States, among other countries.

The idea behind the CSUCI institute is that business can be motivated not just by profit, but also by corporate responsibility — whether it’s providing services in impoverished rural communities, empowering women or offering on-site day care, said Ashish Vaidya, dean of faculty.

“These ideas are becoming more popular, more discussed around the world,” Vaidya said. “We’re asking, ‘How do we make an impact in the region, as well as from a global perspective?’ ”

Similar institutes, often called the Grameen Creative Lab, have been formed at universities around the world, including Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland and the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Yunus said. He is not directly involved in CSUCI’s institute but came to answer questions from faculty.

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