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Nobel Peace Prize 2006

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2006
Review of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 and the winner Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank.

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner for 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for 2006 - Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank

The Nobel Peace Prize has a long list of distinguished laureates that include leaders of countries, activists for human rights, and founders of beneficial organizations. Bankers and banks have never been thought of as peacemakers until now. The Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank have been awarded equal share in the Nobel Peace Prize for 2006.

The Nobel Foundation said that "Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea."

Through using microcredit, the Bangladeshi economist has opened up doors for people that had previously struggled to put food on the table. Microcredit or microfinance is a system where small amounts of money are lent out to impoverished and often illiterate people that were previously shunned by normal banks. Yunus and his Grameen Bank have lent out more than $5.7 billion since starting back in the 1970s.

The Grameen Bank began in 1976 after Yunus saw much human suffering from a 1974 drought and a financial system that did not benefit the neediest of people. It started with the financial support of the central bank in Bangladesh, before becoming an independent bank in 1983.

Yunus found the poor people that did try to borrow money had to deal with loan sharks that had ludicrous conditions which could easily lead to being enslaved by the money lender if payments were not kept up. Muhammad Yunus started by making a list of 42 people that were indebted to these loan sharks, lending them the money they owed, and telling them to repay the loans when they could afford to.

This first act of helping those 42 people living in poverty to stand on their own feet has led to a giant financial corporation benefiting millions of people every year. More than ninety percent of its borrowers are poor women with little education and very few assets. In a Muslim country of roughly 140 million people, where half the people live in poverty, Yunus chose to focus his efforts on the women as he found they were more determined to lift their family out of poverty.

His pioneering system of Microcredit lending has been praised and adopted in countries all over the world with similar problems. Yunus says that his country has been reducing the amount of people living in poverty by two percent each year since the year 2000.

"I did something that challenged the banking world. Conventional banks look for the rich; we look for the absolutely poor. All people are entrepreneurs, but many don't have the opportunity to find that out." Muhammad Yunus Quote

In reply to those that cannot see the connection between peace and a banking system that benefits the poor, the Nobel Peace Prize committee has this to say;
"Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights."




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