Congratulatory Note to Prof. Yunus
Bangladesh Development Initiative
5541 Bondy Drive, Erie, PA 16509, USA
15160 SE 54th Place, Bellevue, WA 98006, USA
April 19, 2013
Dear Professor Yunus,
Congratulations and felicitations on receiving the United States Congressional Gold medal. You are one among a very select few who have been honored with the Nobel, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the US Congressional Gold Medal.
As members of the Bangladesh Development Initiative (BDI), a non-partisan research and advocacy group dedicated to building a democratic and prosperous Bangladesh, we are delighted and proud that a fellow Bangladeshi has been so uniquely honored. We note with deep satisfaction that you are the first Bangladeshi to have received this award, and that you publicly dedicated this prestigious award to the 160 million people of Bangladesh.
On April 17, 2013, in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building, in an impressive award ceremony fit for the historic occasion, leaders from both parties spoke of your contributions to the cause of poverty alleviation, women’s emancipation and peace in Bangladesh and globally. Given the historic nature of the event, House Minority leader, Nancy Pelosi noted that over its long history you are the “first Muslim” to have won this award which is highest civilian award the US Congress can bestow. As a high compliment, she used the word “disruptor” to describe you, given the impact of your ideas that have revolutionized the world of banking, and made it possible for over 150 million poor, mostly women, to secure access to small loans called micro-credit. Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid said that you are a unique businessman – one who is not interested in profits, but in uplifting people from poverty. Others called you a “beautiful dreamer” a “doer” a “revolutionary,” with efforts that are “truly remarkable” and results that are clearly “demonstrable“ which have empowered people to “break out of poverty on their own rather than be dependent on government help.”
In your acceptance remarks, you challenged the assembled leaders to carry on with the work of poverty alleviation since the task is far from complete. You insisted that the motto, “We will send poverty to the museum” be inscribed in Bengali on the gold medal. You recognized how blessed you are since there are many who do good work but are not recognized. You called upon those gathered for the occasion to imagine the impossible – a world where there are no poor and all people may live in hope, seek personal growth and bring about social justice. In your remarks at Georgetown University you introduced representatives of the Grameen Bank team to great applause, and reminded the students that the poor are not responsible for their poverty. It is the system we have built and maintain that constrains the poor, and jeopardizes prosperity. It is this system that we must change, and you are inspiring us with the vision that, collectively, we can. We are excited about your model of social business – a business driven by the mission to solve societal problems, rather than maximizing profits – which holds great promise in creating a better world.
We salute you for what you have achieved and pray for your good health and continued success in the years to come.
Munir Quddus, President
The Executive Committee and Members of
The Bangladesh Development Initiative, USA