MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón Hosts Nobel Prize Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce, Francisco Sanchez, and other Business and Finance Leaders to Discuss Haiti’s Long-term Recovery
Banker, economist and champion of the poor, Dr. Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and, most recently, has been focusing his attention on Haiti’s recovery
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón and Dr. Muhammad Yunus
Miami, August 30, 2010 - Miami Dade College (MDC) President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, hosted Nobel Prize Laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco Sanchez, and other business and finance leaders on Monday, August 30, for a special conversation regarding the long-term recovery and rebuilding of Haiti.
Dr. Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank (GB) in Bangladesh, and he developed the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These small loans are extended to those in poverty to spur entrepreneurship, which in turn generates an income, builds wealth and, in many cases, enables these individuals to exit poverty. These individuals lack the usual collateral, steady employment and verifiable credit history, which qualify them for traditional lines of credit.
GB is present in all regions of Bangladesh with 8.29 million borrowers and 97 percent of them are women. The amount of loans disbursed since inception is $9.54 billion of which 8.50 billion has been repaid. According to GB’s website, a recent internal survey revealed that 68 percent of borrowers’ families have crossed the poverty line while the remaining families are moving toward the poverty line from below.
NOW DR. YUNUS HAS TURNED HIS ATTENTION TO HAITI AS HE BELIEVES HIS APPROACH HAS GREAT POTENTIAL FOR REBUILDING HAITI FOR THE LONG-TERM.
“The Department of Commerce has been actively engaged and fully committed to Haiti’s development since even before January’s devastating earthquake. We know that a more viable, sustainable Haiti can only be achieved with the concerted efforts of both the public and private sectors. We will continue to foster opportunities for U.S. businesses to help Haiti rebuild and flourish,” said Under Secretary Sanchez.
The International Trade Administration (ITA) knows that to facilitate long-term recovery and reconstruction in Haiti, the United States must engage Haitian businesses in these rebuilding efforts. In May, Congress passed the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP), which extends existing trade benefits for Haitian textiles until 2020. Haiti’s apparel sector has the greatest potential to generate jobs quickly. YY Haiti offers a unique opportunity for us to help further the recovery efforts for Haiti’s most needy.
MDC and Dr. Padrón, who travelled to Haiti shortly after the devastating earthquake earlier this year, have also been very involved in Haiti’s recovery. MDC’s faculty, students and staff raised nearly $100,000 in the weeks following the quake, which was provided to Operation Hope for Haiti, and also collected several tons of relief and medical supplies. In addition to travelling to Haiti on a humanitarian trip, Dr. Padrón has been tapped by former President Bill Clinton to lead a group working with Haiti’s leaders to restore its higher education infrastructure. Dr. Padrón has also played a similar role in Chile’s recovery from its earthquake earlier this year. Dr. Padrón also presented Dr. Yunus with the college’s Presidential Medal, its highest honor. Previously, it’s been presented to world leaders including Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, and President William Clinton.
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