Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yunus received Presidential Medal of Freedom

Muhammad Yunus received the Medal of Freedom today from U.S President Obama. Yunus was recognized for founding microcredit, the practice of giving small loans to poor people without collateral.

From The Grameen Foundations blog, Grameen CEO Alex Counts wrote his reflections on the ceremony.

Today’s ceremony where President Barack Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Professor Muhammad Yunus and other incredibly accomplished citizens was a moment when any American, and any person, who wants the world to be a better place to feel proud. When President and Michelle Obama entered the room there was electricity unlike anything I had ever seen. Clearly, the President was enjoying the opportunity to honor people he deeply admired. The medals were presented roughly in alphabetical order, so Professor Yunus was nearly the last to be mentioned in the President’s speech and the last to be called up to receive his medal. The two exchanged a few words before the President fastened the medal around Professor Yunus’ neck.

When Dr. Yunus’ invitees got their picture taken with the President and First Lady, I introduced myself and mentioned that I was President of Grameen Foundation. Michelle Obama said, “That’s great!” Dr. Yunus, standing nearby, said, “So, you should be talking to each other” – meaning Mrs. Obama and me. I can only hope that is what the future holds. For now, I am basking in a day where I can feel proud of my country and my association with Grameen, and appreciate my good fortune to be able to work under Dr. Yunus’ halo for a poverty-free world.

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