May 17, 2010 - 1994 Laureate Yunus delivers Duke University commencement, urges students to serve others
May 18, 2010 - - Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the 1994 World Food Prize and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, delivered the commencement address at Duke University and urged graduates to measure their lives on how they serve others.
Yunus challenged the Class of 2010 to use their abilities to affect positive global change. "Each individual, each human being, has enormous power to change the world. You have it. Are you going to use that power to change the world?" he asked.
He also reminded the graduates just how lucky they are to have received an education at Duke.
"Remember all the millions of young people around the world who weren't as lucky as you," he said. "They are as bright as you are, they are as creative as anybody anywhere, but they will never have the opportunity to go to school."
Yunus, a native of Bangladesh, was awarded the World Food Prize - and later the Nobel - for promoting the economic and social empowerment of the poorest citizens of Bangladesh through his novel program of no-collateral micro-loans. In establishing the Grameen Bank, Dr. Yunus has helped millions of impoverished, undernourished, and disenfranchised families to gain access to adequate food and nutrition for the first times in their lives, giving them the health necessary to obtain education, employment, and long-term security.
Duke University presented Dr. Yunus with an honorary degree, to which he quipped, "Not many people are giving honorary degrees to bankers these days, so thank you for making an exception for me."