The Bangladeshi who established a bank for the poor has been named winner of the eighth Seoul Peace Prize.The biennial prize of 200,000 dollars, awarded to Muhammad Yunus, honours peace efforts by politicians, academics, activists and international organizations.
“His tireless endeavor to root out poverty and create a new model of giving credit to the poor will bear fruit in terms of greater peace in the world,” the Seoul Prize Cultural Foundation said.
It said Yunus, dubbed “Banker to the Poor,” began fighting poverty during a 1974 famine in Bangladesh. He set up a small bank, Grameen Bank, to give them access to credit.
Yunus is the developer and founder of the concept of “microcredit” for entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.
The success of Grameen and Yunus’s new banking concept has been emulated in 23 countries, the foundation said.
The Seoul Peace Prize, established in 1990, commemorates the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which drew as many as 160 countries and were seen as breaking the ideological wall between East and West.
Yunus is the eighth winner of the prize, whose other recipients include UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Czech Republic’s former president Vaclav Havel and international relief organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.
The awards ceremony will be held in Seoul on October 19.