‘Father of microfinance’ Muhammad Yunus talks student leadership, COVID-19

Muhammad Yunus spoke to students in the UC Berkeley Haas MBA program. (Video courtesy of UC Berkeley Haas)

Students taking UC Berkeley’s “Becoming a Changemaker” course recently welcomed Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus to their virtual classroom to discuss how the younger generation can be leaders for societal change, and what that change looks like in a post-COVID-19 world.

Known as the “Father of microfinance,” Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 after fusing capitalism with social responsibility through Grameen Bank. Founded by Yunus in 1983, the bank is a microcredit institution that provides small loans to poor people around the world, allowing them to become self-employed through their own microfinanced businesses.

His bank has loaned over $6.5 billion to poor communities, helping to produce many women-owned businesses, while maintaining a repayment rate above 98%.

“One person alone is good enough to change the world,” Yunus said to students during the hour-long discussion. “… Each human being is good enough to change the whole world. So feel that, and make it happen.”

Yunus has continued to speak about his altruistic work in economics to audiences around the world. As part of Berkeley’s Changemaker initiative, the event was also featured in the Berkeley Haas dean’s speaker series.

Berkeley faculty member Alex Budak joined Yunus in conversation. Watch the entire discussion above.