Gold Medal Round-Up: Hear Professor Yunus Thank RESULTS Volunteers!
On Wednesday, April 17, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus accepted the Congressional Gold Medal, over two years after RESULTS volunteers and our champions in Congress successfully worked to pass the legislation awarding him the medal. In a moment we seldom see in Washington these days, congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle and both chambers joined together in the Capitol rotunda to celebrate Professor Yunus’s groundbreaking microfinance work, the millions of successful women borrowers of Grameen Bank, and his grand vision of ending poverty worldwide.
In his acceptance speech, Professor Yunus talked passionately about his first time lobbying Congress and the beginning of microcredit before speaking to the evolution of his work today to social business.
Professor Yunus also took a moment to address the power of advocacy, and even gave a special shout-out to RESULTS volunteers for all of your support for microfinance over the years! You can watch the clip above, and here’s what he said:
I come back [to Washington, DC] again in 1984–85 for a different cause. This time I’m invited to tell my story about Grameen Bank. Nobody knew about it at that time. A group called RESULTS — nobody heard of them — with some crazy music teacher from Florida, Sam Daley-Harris, pushing this: “Microcredit is the answer.” So I’m brought into many congressional hearings, subcommittee hearings, committee hearings to present what I have experienced. And that built up a tremendous momentum for the whole movement of microfinance. Today, when we talk about 100 million, 150 million people taking microloans [it is] because what you have done in this Congress, the support you provided behind it. The most passionate volunteers of RESULTS, mobilizing forces to bring this information to every congressman, every senator. Thank you RESULTS volunteers here and RESULTS volunteers everywhere. . . .
You can watch the full Congressional Gold Medal ceremony online (it starts around minute 29:30), or just watch Professor Yunus’s remarks. At the bottom of this post, you can find links to each speaker’s remarks in the ceremony.
In addition to celebrating with Professor Yunus virtually, RESULTS volunteers in communities around the country wrote letters to the editor to spread awareness about Professor Yunus’s work and to thank their members of Congress for cosponsoring the legislation awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal. Letters were published in the Chicago Tribune, Kitsap Sun, Mercury News, Missoulian, Miami Herald and two in the Times of Trenton – one by RESULTS volunteers and one by Muhammad Yunus himself. Nice work!
Video clips: The Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
Did you miss watching the ceremony live? Want to watch a certain speaker again, or send a clip to your member of Congress? Here’s a breakdown of each speaker so you can jump directly to the piece you would like to view – click on the name of the speaker below to view that part of the video:
- Full Ceremony
- House Chaplain Rev. Patrick Conroy
- Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), lead on the Gold Medal legislation in the House
- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), co-lead on the Gold Medal legislation in the House
- Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY)
- Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), lead on the Gold Medal legislation in the Senate
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
- Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
- Delivery of the Medal
- Professor Yunus’s acceptance speech
- RESULTS shout-out
And there’s more. . . .
While in Washington, Professor Yunus delivered a lecture at Georgetown University entitled, “Social Business and Microcredit for Women’s Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation.” The full lecture is available for viewing on Georgetown’s website.
The Gold Medal Ceremony and Professor Yunus’s work also received widespread media attention. From an interview in The New York Times to an article in the International Herald Tribune to both an editorial and article in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News to an op-ed in the Times of Trenton, people around the country and the world had the opportunity to hear about the power of microfinance and social business to help communities lift themselves out of poverty and create lasting change in the world.