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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two on Yunus

Posted By on 03.24.11 at 10:36 AM

Bonsai

  • "Bonsai"

"Poor people are like bonsai trees," economist Muhammad Yunus said in his 2006 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

"There is nothing wrong in their seeds. Simply, society never gave them the base to grow on. All it needs to get the poor people out of poverty is for us to create an enabling environment for them. Once the poor can unleash their energy and creativity, poverty will disappear very quickly."

Yunus was awarded Nobel for founding Grameen Bank in his native Bangladesh. SInce 1983, Grameen Bank has offered modest, collateral-free loans to desperately poor Bangladeshis, mostly women, to foster small-scale entrepreneurship as a more sustainable anti-poverty alternative to the dependency engendered by conventional aid programs.

Earlier this month, the Bangladeshi central bank moved to oust Yunus from his position as the head of Grameen Bank, asserting that the bank had misallocated a $100 million donation from the Norwegian government, and that the bank required greater government oversight.

Yunus and his supporters dispute the ouster as illegitimate and politically motivated—Yunus has been a vocal critic of government corruption and a sometime political opposition leader.

Former Chicagoan Holly Mosher tracks Yunus's career and the impact of the microcredit movement in her documentary Bonsai.

Mosher holds a preview screening Thursday 3/24 at 6 p.m. at Wright Foundation for Transformational Leadership, 12 E. Erie St. Mosher will be there in person and Yunus will participate in Q&A via video from Bangladesh. Suggested donation $20 online, $30 at the door.

Then the following Thursday 3/31, Gayle Ferraro's 2010 Sundance selection, To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America screens at 7:30 p.m. at Landmark Century Centre, 2828 N. Clark St. To Catch a Dollar posits microcredit as part of the solution to the U.S. financial crisis.

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