Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 2006

Muhammad Yunus 
Monday, December 10, 2007 

Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, founder of the microcredit institution Grameen Bank, will speak at UFM and appear at a concert by The Green Children.  He will be visiting Guatemala as part of his tour of Grameen projects in Central America. 

During the spring semester of 2007, UFM’s School of Business hosted a group of students from the Sloan School of Management at MIT to study and critique the Grameen experiment in Sololá, Guatemala, headquartered at Lake Atitlán.  UFM is interested in using the phenomenon of microcredit as a tool to demonstrate how market incentives promote economic well-being.  In countries with highly regulated financial markets such as Guatemala, the institution of microcredit can dramatize that regulation of financial institutions produces negative effects, and that these fall hardest on the poorest. 

About Muhammad Yunus 

Muhammad Yunus established the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983.  His objective was to help poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound financial principles so they could help themselves.  From Yunus’ personal loan of small amounts of money to destitute craftspeople in Bangladesh in the mid-1970s, the Grameen Bank is today at the forefront of micro lending.  Replicas of the Grameen Bank model operate in more than 100 countries worldwide.  The Grameen Bank began a pilot program in Guatemala last year with support from Whole Planet Foundation.  

Born in 1940 in the seaport city of Chittagong, Yunus studied at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, then received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University.  He received his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt in 1969 and the following year became an assistant professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University.  Returning to Bangladesh, Yunus headed the economics department at Chittagong University.  

Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards, including most recently the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize award, together with Grameen Bank, and the Social Entrepreneur Award of the Year (2007), Geoffrey Palmer Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Law, Pepperdine School of Law, California.  Yunus has been recognized as an effective and influential business and social leader by many leading news media, most recently by  Business Week, which in June 2007 named him among the 30 greatest entrepreneurs of all time. 

About The Green Children 

The pop-rock duo The Green Children has appeared with Professor Yunus at events in the United States, Japan, China, and Norway to promote microcredit and composed a song saluting the women borrowers of Grameen Bank.  From sales of their first CD, entitled “Hear Me Now,” and the same-titled DVD, shot in Bangladesh, Milla Sunde of Norway and Tom Bevan of England have raised 0,000 to build an eye hospital in Bangladesh. 

 

Manuel F. Ayau 
Monday, January 14, 2008 

Manuel F. Ayau, UFM founding president, will give the inaugural lecture for the 2008 academic year. 

About Manuel F. Ayau 

Manuel F. Ayau is founding president of Universidad Francisco Marroquín (1971-1988).  He is also founder of the Center for Economic and Social Studies (CEES), one of Latin America%u2019s first classical liberal think tanks.  CEES was created to study and disseminate the philosophical and economic foundations of the free society and provided the intellectual impetus for the founding of UFM. 

Ayau’s contribution to human liberty has been as an “entrepreneur of ideas.”  He has been a master synthesizer and communicator of classical liberal thought as a writer and a teacher.  In 1971, when he applied his great entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to designing  Universidad Francisco Marroquín, he did so in an environment that was intellectually hostile and politically dangerous, one that called for personal risk and sacrifice.  

Born and raised in Guatemala, Ayau has been a cotton farmer, rice farmer, civil engineer, educator, and writer.  His entrepreneurial ventures include production of industrial gasses, hydroelectric facilities, and the industrial manufacture of ceramic tiles.  He has served on the board of various companies and business associations, including two banks, the IBM Latin American Board and the Guatemalan Stock Exchange, of which he was founding president.  He is a member of The Mont Pelerin Society (since 1964), serving as its president from 1978 to 1980.  He was trustee of the Foundation for Economic Education in New York and is a member of the board of directors of Liberty Fund, Inc. (since 1987).  He was a member of the Legislative Assembly in Guatemala (1970-1974), as well as presidential candidate in 1990. 

Mr. Ayau writes a weekly column in  Prensa Libre, Guatemala’s leading newspaper.  His articles have appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including  The Wall Street Journal.  In the latest of his six books, “Not a Zero Sum Game,” Ayau focuses on comparative advantage as indispensable to the very existence of human society itself. 

Ayau earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University in 1950 and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Hillsdale College in Michigan.  He has been designated a distinguished alumni by Louisiana State University and received the Foundation for Economic Education’s Founder’s Award in 1996.  

 

John Stossel  
Monday, January 14, 2008 

ABC NEWS correspondent John Stossel will visit UFM to receive an honorary doctoral degree in social sciences.  During the ceremony, which will be attended by students, professors and trustees, Mr. Stossel will give a brief address.  The same evening he will give a full lecture, followed by questions and answers during a gala banquet hosted on campus by UFM at Liberty Plaza. 

UFM has developed four core courses, of one semester each, required of all undergraduate degree students, from law to medicine to architecture.  Two of the courses look at the market process; the other two look at liberty as a philosophical concept.  For most of our students, this will be their only formal encounter with ideas that address individual rights and responsibilities and the proper role of government in society.  Much of John Stossel’s investigative and analytic work touches on issues raised in these courses.  Popularizers like Stossel help ensure that when our students go out into the world, they explicitly revisit the issues.  By using everyday analogies, he masterfully reinforces the link between personal freedom and the need to bring government down in size.  

About John Stossel 

Award-winning news correspondent John Stossel was named co-anchor of ABC NEWS’ acclaimed newsmagazine, 20/20, in May 2003.  In addition to longer, in-depth reports for 20/20 on subjects ranging from addiction to parenting issues in his “Family Fix” segments, Stossel is featured in a regular segment entitled “Give Me a Break.”  These short commentaries take a skeptical look at a wide array of issues, from pop culture controversies to censorship and government regulations. 

Stossel’s specials tackle issues that face Americans today.  They consistently rate among the top news programs and have earned him uncommon praise: “The most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time,” said the Dallas Morning News, while the Orlando Sentinel said Stossel “has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound.”  Five of these specials have been adapted into teaching kits by In The Classroom Media (a nonprofit organization), in cooperation with ABC, for use by high school teachers to help educate their students about economic freedom.  These kits are now being used by more than 25,000 teachers in more than 35 percent of the schools in the United States, reaching over 4.2 million students per year. 

Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club.  Among his other awards are the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award.  In his early years at ABC, Stossel was consumer editor at Good Morning America. Prior to that, he was a consumer reporter at WCBS-TV in New York City.  He began his journalism career as a researcher for KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon.  Stossel is a 1969 graduate of Princeton University, with a B.A. in psychology.