Muhammad Yunus: media can “change the discourse” to help eradicate poverty


By Anna Abou Zeid

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus spoke today at the International Government Communication  Forum (IGCF)  in Sharjah on the importance of fostering a culture of entrepreneurship among youth. The pioneer of microcredit loans, whose goal is to eradicate poverty from the world, told Campaign Middle East that the media industry has an important role to play. “It’s all about education and shifting the culture and the conversation,” Yunus said. “We need to teach young people not just to be job seekers, but to be job creators – and this will happen through education in schools and, of course, through education by the media. The media can bring these ideas to the masses – change the discourse.”

Dr Yunus is the founder and former Managing Director of Grameen Bank, which has provided micro-credit loans to millions of people in Bangladesh. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his trailblazing work. His business-minded approach has been heralded by the World Bank for allowing millions of people to “rise from poverty with dignity”.

“We need a mentality shift,”  Yunus told Campaign. “We have been drilled in our mind that every young person has to find a job, or that the government should give us a job. But if everyone creates his own job, his own livelihood, things will begin to improve for everyone.”

The IGCF is a two-day event at Sharjah Expo Centre, bringing together world leaders in communications, environment and sustainability. Guests on day one included former US vice-president and climate advocate Al Gore; Badr Jafar, the CEO of Crescent Enterprises and President of Crescent Petroleum United States; Dr Jeffrey Sachs, renowned development economist; and Her Excellency Najla Bint Mohammad Al Awar, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of Community Development.

Follow @CampaignME on Twitter for live updates from the forum throughout the day.