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Dr. Muhammad Yunus, 2006 nobel laureate and founder of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, addressed an audience of more than 700 on Oct. 20, at Pepperdine’s School of Law. His address, titled "Social Enterprise: Doing Well by Doing Good," was telecast live to three overflow rooms, and the video stream is available here.
The three students who traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to intern with Dr. Yunus this past summer, Amadea Goresh, Ian Davis, and Jay Milbrandt were on hand to introduce the speaker and field questions from the audience. School of Law dean Ken Starr and Pepperdine University provost Darryl Tippens gave remarks before and after the keynote address.
Yunus spoke about microcredit, the process of using collateral-free loans of small amounts to help millions of families out of poverty. In 1976, Yunus founded Grameen Bank with a mere $27 dollars from his own pocket. Today, Grameen Bank has made a total of $6.44 billion in loans to 7.27 million borrowers and almost 99 percent of the loans have been repaid. The bank is fully owned by its clients and has been a model for microfinance institutions around the world. In 2006, Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this work.
In his speech, Yunus also discussed a new mission: Grameen America, the first Grameen Bank style microcredit program in the United States. Grameen America will focus on savings and credit establishment and providing loans and savings programs to foster entrepreneurship among the poor throughout the nation.
The partnership between Pepperdine University and Grameen Bank was launched when representatives from Pepperdine’s Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law traveled to Bangladesh to present Yunus with the 2006 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award in January.