Recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Professor Muhammad Yunus is internationally recognized for his work in poverty alleviation and the empowerment of poor women. Professor Yunus has successfully melded capitalism with social responsibility to create the Grameen Bank, a microcredit institution committed to providing small amounts of working capital to the poor for self-employment. From its origins as an action-research project in 1976, Grameen Bank has grown to provide collateral-free loans to 7.5 million clients in more than 82,072 villages in Bangladesh and 97% of whom are women.
Over the last two decades, Grameen Bank has loaned out over 6.5 billion dollars to the poorest of the poor, while maintaining a repayment rate consistently above 98%. The innovative approach to poverty alleviation pioneered by Professor Yunus in a small village in Bangladesh has inspired a global microcredit movement reaching out to millions of poor women from rural South Africa to inner city Chicago. His autobiography, "Banker to the Poor: Microlending and the Battle Against World Poverty," has been translated in French, Italian, Spanish, English, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, Gujarati, Chinese, German, Turkish and Arabic.