Thursday, April 7, 2011

Muhammad Yunus: The Nobel Peace Laureate That Never Was?

Strange as it seems, but could a pre-existing employment law could have made Muhammad Yunus not eligible for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize?

By: Ringo Bones

Unknown to a very large majority of folks, Grameen Bank’s concept of lending money for the non-credit-worthy poor that was started by Muhammad Yunus was already more than 30-years old when he was awarded the 2006 Nobel peace Prize. Nonetheless, by 2007, lending money to the not so credit worthy poor modeled after the Grameen Bank scheme of “Banking for the Poor” had suddenly sprang up like spring mushrooms not only in South-East Asia, but also in other parts of the world where extreme poverty – people earning less than a dollar a day – are the norm rather than the exception. But could a pre-existing employment law in Bangladesh have prevented Muhammad Yunus from winning the 2006 Nobel Peace prize?

Back in March 2011, the 71-yer-old Muhammad Yunus was sacked as the managing director of Grameen Bank due to violation of Bangladesh’s mandatory retirement laws which sets the mandatory retirement age at 60. By virtue of this law, Yunus would have had to retire his management post at Grameen Bank back in 2001, and could have made the case of awarding him the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize that much harder, but is it really?

“Unconventional” reasons and cases for awarding the Nobel peace prize might have seen to be in vogue in the 21st Century – like poverty alleviation as a way to prevent armed conflicts – became the raison d’ĂȘtre for awarding the Nobel Peace Prizes to Muhammad Yunus in 2006 and to Al Gore in 2007, but it is not the first. Agronomist Norman Borlaug got awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his efforts to breed a new strain of wheat that saved more than a billion people from starvation. Maybe Muhammad Yunus held his position just long enough to be eligible for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Does luck really have something to do with it?

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