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Nobel laureate Yunus gets Seoul Peace prize

Muhammad Yunus has been awarded the Seoul Peace Prize for his role as a banker to the poor in Bangladesh.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2006 11:18 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

This year's Nobel peace laureate was honoured again on Thursday for his work in fighting poverty and pledged to continue struggling for a world free of want.

Six days after winning the world's most prestigious award, Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Seoul Peace Prize for his role as banker to the poor.

Yunus told the award ceremony it was a "wonderful feeling and so exciting, because it's not only a prize to honour me, it's a prize to uphold a fate, a mission that we can create a poverty-free world."

Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded were jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for "their efforts to create economic and social development from below."

The success of Grameen Bank in offering microcredit without collateral to the poorest has been emulated in 23 countries, according to the Grameen Foundation.

Seeing how rural Bangladeshis struggled to borrow sums as low as 27 dollars in the early 1970s, Yunus said he decided to offer himself as a guarantor to help them receive bank loans.

"Microcredit for me is a social business enterprise, an enterprise to help people get out of poverty," he was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying.

Grameen Bank focuses mainly on women and is "an inclusive bank. We never reject anybody," he said.

"What she has done is not our concern. What she will do next, that's our concern."

The biennial Seoul Peace Prize, established in 1990, marks the achievements of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

Other recipients have included UN secretary general Kofi Annan, former Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel, and international relief organisations such as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Oxfam.

First Published: Oct 19, 2006 23:38 IST