Dr. Yunus, founder and Managing Director of Grameen Bank and Nobel Laureate, originated the concept of "banking without collateral" for the poorest of the poor in 1976.
The Grameen Bank (est. 1983) offers small loans for self-employment for the rural poor, especially women. It currently operates 1.781 branches and provides credit to 5.6 million poor people residing in 60.815 villages in Bangladesh.
Dr. Yunus has received several international distinctions including the Philippines' Ramon Magsaysay Award (1984), Sri Lanka's Mohamed Shabdeen Award (1993), Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Prize (1996), Japan's Ozaki-Gakudo Award (1998), India's Indira Gandhi Award (1998), Australia's Sydney Peace Prize (1998), the U.S Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009) -its highest civilian honor-, and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 - jointly with Grameen Bank.
Within Bangladesh he received the President's Award (1978), the Central Bank Award (1985), and the Independence Day Award (1987). Dr. Yunus was the first chair of the Policy Advisory Group of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, appointed as International Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations, and inducted as a member of the Legion d'Honneur by President Chirac of France.
Muhammad Yunus holds a Ph.D in Economics from Vanderbilt University (U.S) and numerous honorary degrees from universities all over the world. He currently serves on the boards of many national and international organizations. Besides the Grameen Bank, he has created a number of companies in Bangladesh to address diverse issues of poverty and development.