Created on Saturday, 12 June 2010 03:14
Written by Jared Tan
Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus gave an inspirational commencement speech on how one can do good and at the same time make money at Duke University's graduation ceremony this year.
One of the pioneers of social entrepreneurship, Dr Yunus founded the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh in 1983 with the revolutionary concept of microfinance—lending small collateral-free amounts to some of the world's poor. These sums of money served as seed money for the less fortunate to begin their own business and hence, breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty. By lending the less fortunate sums of money in a group and making accountability everyone's responsibility, the Grameen Bank has managed to be profitable contrary to most beliefs.
One of the most noteworthy parts of the speech was when Dr Yunus said: "You are the luckiest graduating class because you are graduating from Duke University. And you are the brightest because you are the graduates from Duke University. But remember all the millions of young people all around the world who are not as lucky as you are. They're as bright as you are, most of them. They're as creative as anyone anywhere. But they never had the opportunity to even go to school."
With this, at the ceremony, he encouraged graduates to serve a greater purpose other than working for pure profits and shared his own experience in doing just so—the Grameen Bank has proven that lending to the needy could be a profitable business.
He also added that with every social problem, creativity can be used to overcome it. If you are stuck choosing between a passion for doing good and profits, here's your answer: You can achieve both, just like Dr Yunus did. Related links: Muhammad Yunus wiki
, Microfinance wiki