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Muhammad Yunus, an economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for founding the global microfinance movement, will discuss his life’s work and his vision for “A World of Zero Poverty” at Wake Forest University on Dec. 6.

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus

Yunus will give the inaugural Noesis Lecture at 4 p.m. in Wait Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Often called the “banker of the poor” and the father of social business, Yunus founded Grameen Bank as a non-profit in Bangladesh to provide small, collateral-free loans to the poor, mostly women, to start their own businesses. The bank became a model for combatting poverty through microlending.

“We are incredibly excited to launch the Noesis Lecture Series by bringing a Nobel laureate like Professor Yunus to Wake Forest,” said Adam Hyde, Assistant Director of the Eudaimonia Institute.

“His inspirational work continues to have a tremendous impact by reducing poverty and empowering women across the globe.”Adam Hyde, Assistant Director of the Eudaimonia Institute

For his constant innovation and enterprise, Fortune Magazine named Yunus as “one of 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time.” He has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2006, Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In his acceptance speech, Yunus said “Peace is inextricably linked to poverty. Poverty is a threat to peace.”

Yunus studied economics at Vanderbilt University as a Fulbright Scholar and received his PhD in economics in 1969. Returning to Bangladesh in 1972, he joined the University of Chittagong as head of the economics department. In 1976 Yunus started to experiment with providing microloans to the poor. Grameen Bank now has over 8.4 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women, and disburses over one and a half billion U.S. dollars each year.

Yunus is the author of the 2017 book “A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions” and other books, including “Banker to the Poor: Microlending and the Battle against World Poverty” and “Creating a World without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism.”

Yunus is also a founding board member of Grameen America, a microfinance nonprofit organization that provides loans, savings programs, credit establishment and other financial services to entrepreneurs living below the poverty line in the United States. He is a founding board member of Grameen Foundation, which works to reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab world and the Americas.

Yunus has served on the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women, the Global Commission of Women’s Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development. and the U.N. Expert Group on Women and Finance.

The lecture is sponsored by Wake Forest’s Eudaimonia Institute, the Center for Bioethics, Health and Society, the School of Business, the Graduate Programs in Sustainability, the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability and the Department of Economics.

Rethinking Community Conference, October 19-21, 2017

David Zirin, a sportswriter for The Nation, hosts a panel of athletes to talk about Sports and Community: fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, basketball player Mahmoud Abul-Rauf, and track athlete John Carlos.

Wake Forest University leads the way in Rethinking Community. Hosted by the Eudaimonia Institite and the Pro Humanitate Institute on October 19-21, 2017.

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Deirdre McCloskey EI Conference

The Eudaimonia conference, Eudaimonia: What Is It and How Can It Be Assessed? brought together distinguished scholars in philosophy, economics, psychology, public health, and business. Attendees hailed from Wake Forest, Stanford, Brookings, University of Wisconsin, University of Arizona, Duke, Indiana University, University of Southern California, and others. They discussed Aristotle’s word for well-being, happiness, or human flourishing with spirited debates about virtue, purpose, productivity, subjectivity, and measurement. The event was sponsored by the Eudaimonia Institute, and co-sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism, the Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society, Thrive, and the School of Business. The opening dinner and keynote address by Dr. Deirdre McCloskey in Farrell Hall drew about 200 faculty, staff, students, community members, and the media.

Conference Webpage


Wake Forest students enjoy a beautiful late summer morning as they walk across campus to class on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.

What constitutes a life well lived? Wake Forest University professors are addressing this age-old question with the support of nearly $4.2 million in new research funding to study eudaimonia (yoo-dye-mo-NEE-uh)—Aristotle’s term for “flourishing.”

The mission of Wake Forest’s Eudaimonia Institute is to study the nature of human flourishing—as well as the institutions, attitudes and cultural practices that encourage it. An interdisciplinary intellectual community of scholars will explore the concept beyond the typical scope of how happiness is understood or used in everyday conversation.

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