Nobel laureate Professor Yunus addressed as chief guest at the celebration of fourth anniversary of social enterprise UK held at the British parliament building to celebrate the occasion of Social Enterprise Day on November 20. Yunus congratulated the Houses of Parliament for their support for social enterprises.
The celebration was jointly hosted by Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, and Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D’Souza. Professor Yunus was the Chief Guest at the ceremony Co-chaired by the Speakers of both the houses of parliament. Social enterprise delegates from China, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Nigeria, UK, USA and many other countries numbering 150 delegates and senior officials from British government and British social enterprises attended the celebration – showing their commitment to help grow the number of businesses and public bodies buying from Britain’s social enterprises.
Professor Yunus in his address underlined that millions of people in the UK and around the world face unprecedented economic uncertainty and growing social problems. “We in Bangladesh have been trying to solve these problems by creating sustainable non-dividend social business companies.”
Yunus further said “The UK parliament is encouraging citizens to buy products produced by social enterprises, by becoming a ‘buy social’ institution itself. The Houses of Parliament are creating an example for others, recognizing the positive difference they can make to people and planet, simply by buying goods and services from businesses with a social mission. This type of forward-thinking among leading organizations about how they can change their own behavior is vitally important. I hope that many more governments, businesses, institutions and charities will follow suit.”
After the celebration Yunus addressed a separate event in the British Parliament which brought parliamentarians from over 40 commonwealth countries at Westminster for an International Parliamentary Conference on Growth for Development entitled: ‘The role of parliamentarians in managing economic growth for equitable development”. The conference was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK with support from UNDP. In his address Professor Yunus outlined his vision for ending poverty.
On the previous day Professor Yunus was a keynote speaker at the 2014 Trust Women Conference organized by Thomson Reuters Foundation that took place in London. This year’s Trust Women focussed on the theme of economic empowerment of women, ending human trafficking and child slavery. Over 550 delegates from 260 organizations representing over 55 countries attended the conference. In addition, Professor Yunus and CEO of Danone were speakers at an exclusive meeting of CEOs of leading companies based in London organized by Berenberg Bank.
Professor Yunus also travelled to Oxford University to address the members of Oxford University Student Union, where he emphasized that the present economic system cannot solve the global social problems. This system needs to be redesigned. In an hour-long questions and answer session moderated by the president of the Union he answered the questions raised by students.
Later he had a meeting with Oxford University Bangladesh Society. Yunus also addressed a packed hall at London School of Economics and Political Science on social business.
Professor Yunus was invited by the Governor of Bank of England to address the senior officials at the bank’s head office. He addressed a gathering of about 250 officials of the bank, and elaborated his vision of creating an alternative framework for an economic system which includes, among other things, a dramatically reconstructed banking system.