Md Mahmudul Hasan :: Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus arrived in Yangon on Saturday for a three day visit to Myanmar at the invitation of British Council in Myanmar. Professor Yunus is invited to speak to members of the government, civil society and business community about the potential of social business and the role of business in the country’s development.
Professor Yunus started his Myanmar visit with a meeting with DawAung San SuuKyi, Nobel Peace Laureate, at her home in Yangon. This was the first ever meeting of the two Nobel Laureates. He talked to DawAung San SuuKyi about social business programs in Bangladesh including microcredit, health care, education and vocational training, renewable energy social businesses as well as equity investment for the development of enterprises by the unemployed young people of Grameen Bank families. He thanked her for her support to Grameen microcredit replication program set up by Grameen Trust in Delta Zone of Myanmar in 1997, which is now operated by PACT, an international NGO, and is the largest microcredit program serving 700,000 clients in Myanmar currently.
DawAung San SuuKyi showed interest in the initiatives of Professor Yunus around the world. She briefed him about the work she has been doing in her constituency to bring development to the rural communities. Professor Yunus gave hIs views on the potential of close collaboration between the two countries and the need to resolve the outstanding issues to bring the countries closer to each other. He said that he has been proposing to SAARC countries to invite Myanmar to join SAARC, and invited MsSuuKyi to support this proposal on behalf of her party. Professor Yunus invited her to Bangladesh to visit social businesses. She recollected her earlier visit to Bangladesh and expressed her interest to visit again soon. In the meantime, she would like to send a team to visit Bangladesh soon and also send delegates to attend the also attend the Social Business Summit in Mexico City in November 2014. Professor Yunus invited her to the Nobel Peace Laureates Summit to be held in Atlanta, USA in November of 2015. Professor Yunus is the Co – Chair of the Summit along with President Jimmy Carter.
Professor Yunus also had a 30 minute one-on-one meeting with MsSuuKyi.
Earlier Professor Yunus had the opportunity to discuss with Professor AungTunThet and Professor ZawOo, who are senior economic advisers of the President TheinSein about the social business experience in Bangladesh and around the world, and the potential for Myanmar. In the afternoon, he addressed leaders of civil society and business in Yangon on the experiences of social businesses in Bangladesh and around the world to tackle poverty.