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President of Catalonia, Spain receives Professor Dr Yunus

President of Catalonia, Spain receives Professor Yunus. The President of Catalonia, Spain Carles Puigdemont received Professor Yunus at his palace in Barcelona on Tuesday January 26. The President who just assumed office two weeks back wanted to meet Prof Yunus to discuss economic programs for Catalonia.

Professor Yunus who was in Barcelona on the occasion of events organized by Tandem Social related to the launch of Social Business City Barcelona told President Puigdemont that all people had the potential to change their own lives if only they are given the opportunity. He said further that job creation was the wrong orientation and that young people should be given the chance to become entrepreneurs. He narrated the experience of Grameen Bank program in Bangladesh, and of the Nobin Udyokta program which was giving young people a chance to start their own business. The President congratulated Professor Yunus on the work that had been done in Bangladesh and around the world, particularly in Barcelona through La Caixa Bank and thanked him for his support to help establish programs for the economically disadvantaged in Barcelona City. Foreign Minister of Catalonia was also present at the meeting.

Professor Yunus was in Barcelona on 26-27 January on the invitation of Tandem Social an organization that is working to establish Barcelona as a Social Business City. This means the city, if it qualifies for this, will have to fulfill the following criteria: (1) support by the Mayor for social business (2) creation of a social business fund. (3) creation of at least three social businesses on the ground and finally (4) have at least one university that has a social business centre.

Tandem Social organized a half day forum on social business to present the activities of Candidate Social Business City Barcelona to Professor Yunus, specific presentations on social businesses operating in the city, a round table with Professor Yunus and other practitioners to discuss on the concept and practice of social business, a presentation on Yunus Centre, and a keynote address by Professor Muhammad Yunus. The forum was attended by 500 people including the Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, other high level officials of the city, academics, business people, journalists and members of civil society and NGOs.

After the forum, Professor Yunus had a separate meeting with rectors of seven universities of Barcelona who will work together to create a Yunus Social Business Centre jointly which will located at the university of Barcelona to bring social business into the mainstream of their universities curriculum. He also met with two mayors of two neighboring towns and representatives of three other municipalities who are interested to become social business cities.

During his stay, Professor Yunus visited five social businesses operating around Barcelona including old clothes recycling business, a hospitality training institute for the economically disadvantaged, a printing and package delivery business operating by those suffering from mental illness, and a call centre business also operated by the disabled.

He was also received as a VIP guest at the Football Club Barcelona whose foundation is a partner of the Candidate Social Business City initiative, and which would like to learn from Professor Yunus about serving the un-served. He also attended a reception accorded to him by the Bangladeshi community of Barcelona

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