Urge your members of Congress to attend Prof. Yunus’s Gold Medal Ceremony!

April 1, 2013
by Allison Grossman, Senior Legislative Associate

On April 17 at 11 am, Professor Muhammad Yunus will receive the Congressional Gold Medal for his pioneering efforts to eradicate global poverty, becoming one of just seven people to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Congressional Gold Medal.

Congress will recognize Professor Yunus’s groundbreaking microfinance work and the founding of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Today, Grameen Bank has over 8.4 million members — 97 per cent of whom are female — and has lent over $12.5 billion since its inception in 1976, helping millions of women and their families lift themselves out of extreme poverty. In 2006, the Nobel Committee jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Peace to Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank. In his speech Dr. Yunus rightly noted, “By giving us this prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has given important support to the proposition that peace is inextricably linked to poverty. Poverty is a threat to peace.”

This ceremony is the culmination of a legislative process that started almost exactly four years ago, and RESULTS has been there every step of the way. In April 2009, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and former Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT), now a member of the RESULTS Board of Directors, and Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Professor Yunus. These bills have higher standards than normal legislation to pass, requiring two-thirds of the members of each chamber to cosponsor the bill even before it can be considered for passage.

RESULTS volunteers were instrumental in moving the bill throughout 2009 and 2010. Despite being the only group working on the bill, we successfully secured a total of 297 representatives as cosponsors even though only 290 were needed, as well as 70 senators! The House passed the Senate version of the bill in September 2010, sending it the president’s desk and setting into process the planning for next month’s ceremony.

As we prepare to celebrate with Professor Yunus, we need your help one more time to ensure the ceremony is strongly attended and Professor Yunus’s microfinance work receives the attention it deserves from members of Congress.

Here’s how you can help:

Send this invitation from House and Senate leadership to the foreign affairs aide and the scheduler in your senators’ and representatives’ offices. Urge the staff to add Professor Muhammad Yunus’s Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony on April 17 from 11 am to noon in the Capitol Rotunda to the members’ schedule. Members of the House should RSVP to [email protected] while members of the Senate should RSVP to (202) 224-2341 to ensure reserved seating at the ceremony.

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