Muhammad Yunus celebrates new Glasgow Caledonian University chancellor role
Nobel Peace prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus has been installed as the new chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.
A procession was held at the city centre campus, followed by a ceremony in the university’s Saltire Centre.
Prof Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2006 for his pioneering work with the Grameen Bank, which he established in his native Bangladesh in the 1980s. It is said to have helped lift millions of people out of poverty through its micro-lending system.
His daughter Monica, an international opera singer based in New York, performed at the installation.
Prof Yunus said: “As chancellor, I will share my experiences and make them see there’s nothing unusual in what I do – and that they can do that, too.”
Speeches were also given by Education Secretary Mike Russell, GCU principal and vice-chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies and student president Carla Fyfe.
Prof Gillies said: “This has been a historic day for Glasgow Caledonian University. The appointment of Professor Yunus, who is a world thought-leader in social business and a global anti-poverty campaigner, underlines not only our enduring commitment to the common good but our status as a globally networked institution.
“I believe with Chancellor Yunus as our figurehead we will continue to grow as an institution and deliver real benefits for our students and the communities we work for in Scotland and overseas.
“I am incredibly excited and honoured to serve as his vice-chancellor.”
Prof Yunus was made an honorary doctor of letters of the university in 2008, and the following year he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, said to be the highest civilian accolade in the US.
In 2010 the university opened the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh, to help bring nurse and midwifery training to an international standard in a country said to be short of nurses.
Prof Yunus returned to the university in March this year to announce the launch of the Grameen Scotland Foundation, a charitable trust which will use the micro-lending system to support business development in Scotland.
Facilitated by the university, the foundation will lend money to those who wish to start or expand small businesses. It is due to launch next year, after a partnership deal is secured with Tesco Bank which will supply £500,000 of the loan capital required as well as savings support and financial advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Other supporters include the Scottish Government, which has given £100,000 to the initiative, and businesswoman Ann Gloag who also donated £100,000.
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