Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus was invited by former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights to inaugurate the Mary Robinson Centre and deliver the inaugural human rights lecture of the Centre on October 17, 2014, in her home town of Ballina, County Mayo, 234 kilometer west of Dublin. President Robinson and Professor Yunus drove together to Ballina and visited the home where President Robinson was born and grew up as a child. This home has been donated by the family to the City Council and converted into Mary Robinson Centre for human rights, equality and climate justice.
Professor Yunus launched the centre and delivered the inaugural lecture at the well known Mount Falcon Estate on the theme of “We can create a world without poverty, if only we want it” to a standing ovation. The lecture was delivered on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17.
On October 18, Dublin City University, a top university of Ireland conferred Professor Yunus the Doctorate in Philosophy Honoris Causa. The Dublin City University is a dynamic Irish University focussed on healthcare, science and technology. The degree was conferred to Professor Yunus by the Chancellor of the University Dr Martin McAleese and the President of the University Prof Brian McGraith in a special convocation ceremony organized for this purpose attended by 400 faculty members, students, invited guests including a large number of representatives from the Bangladeshi community in Ireland, many of whom travelled from distant cities with their children to attend the event. It began with a colorful academic procession led by the Chancellor of the University. The degree was conferred after two citations on Professor Yunus’ contributions were read out. Professor addressed the gathering explaining his search for solutions for poverty, unemployment and other pressing human problems.
Professor Yunus was in Ireland from 17-20 October on invitation from the One Young World Summit where he was a key note speaker. Professor Yunus was made a Counsellor for the young people aged 18-30, who attend the Summit every year from all over the world, at the launching of the One Young World five years back. Other Counsellors of the Summit include Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson and Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales.
Professor Yunus led an open air ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall during the One Young World Summit when all 1,300 participants, led by Professor Yunus, came out of the Convention Hall and lined up along the river Liffey each holding large white balloon. At the end of a countdown, Professor Yunus released his balloon which signaled to everyone to release theirs. Suddenly, the Dublin sky was filled with hundreds white balloons flying gracefully in the direction of the wind and the entire neighborhood burst into applause. It may be mentioned that Professor Yunus has been invited by the City of Berlin to be the Chief Guest at the official 25th Anniversary of Fall of the Berlin Wall that will take place in Berlin on November 9.
Ten young people from various universities of Bangladesh were selected on a competitive basis by Yunus Centre and were sponsored by the OYW with full sponsorship to participate in this year’s Summit. The youth delegates – five boys, and five girls – participated actively during the Summit including participating in a break out session on social business. Lamiya Morshed, Executive Director of Yunus Centre led the team to Dublin as part of the Nobel Laureates’ delegation.