Yunus: Let the young give free rein to their imagination

Updated 20 November 2012

Yunus: Let the young give free rein to their imagination

Nobel Prize-winning father of microfinance Muhammad Yunus described today’s youth as the most empowered generation in mankind’s history.
“They have this all-powerful advantage of technology that no generation in the past had,” he said while delivering a lecture at Dammam’s King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) on Sunday.
“If you combine the fabulous resources that you have here in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states with the creative and imaginative power of the young men and women, it will unleash a new era of progress and prosperity,” he said. “Give these youngsters the space to come up with new business ideas and inventions.”
He advised teachers and professors not to stunt the growth and thinking of their students and young researchers by imposing old and antiquated theories on them.
“Allow them to think freely; give them the space they need to try out and implement their ideas; if at all you need to do something, then please try to facilitate and help them in carrying out their projects.”
Yunus reminded the audience of the power of imagination. “Remember Star Trek television series and films? Long before we discovered and launched all these satellites, we were traveling into space through science fiction, we were imagining things that did not exist then, and today they do,” he said. “So please let these youngsters go wild with imagination. Let them think big. We are nobody to tell them what is doable and what is not.”
Recalling his own experience of launching a microcredit program through his Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, he said: “People would laugh at me. They called me a joker. They would say why should a professor of economics go out and talk to the poor about banking. I was unmoved. I turned the concept of conventional banking on its head. There is always a first time. Just because somebody has not done something in the past doesn’t mean we shouldn’t it now. We should.”
Explaining the concept of his banking, Yunus said: “In conventional banking, you need a collateral to get a loan. You need to go to their offices. In our system of banking, we go to the poorest of the poor and ask for no collateral because they have none. We build our relationship purely on trust. We know that when we lend that small amount to a poor woman she will repay and she does. She always does.”
According to Yunus, there is nothing wrong with the poor. “It is the system that is to be blamed for not providing them with the opportunity to succeed. There is this young woman who is a doctor. Her mother is illiterate. She is no less than her qualified doctor daughter. Then why did she not become a doctor? And why could her daughter become one? Simply because the mother did not have the opportunity to go a school; society did not provide her with that facility.”
To drive his point home, Yunus narrated the example of a bonsai tree and a shrub. “I call the poor people the ‘bonsai people,’” he said. “The bonsai grows tallest in the forest because it gets the soil it needs to grow. Take a bonsai seed and plant it in an ordinary pot and it will grow only up to a certain height. There is nothing wrong with the seed. The problem is in the soil and the pot — it doesn’t get the soil and the room to grow taller. Similar is the case with the poor, society’s have-nots. They are talented like any of us, but they don’t get the opportunity to succeed. At Grameen Bank, we provided these poor people the opportunity to succeed. And they did in a remarkable way.”
He urged researchers and youngsters at the high-tech university to focus on social business. “Making money and making wealth will always make one happy, but there is greater happiness when you help solve the problems of the poor. I call it super-happiness. Just as science fiction helped invent all this technology, you can write social fiction to help come up with novel solutions to today’s problem,” he said.
Yunus reminded youngsters that each of them is endowed with unlimited capability. “Every single person has a unique ability, unique creative ability, they just need to unleash that creativity for the good of humanity,” he said.

Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

Updated 22 April 2018

Makkah workshop approves 27 initiatives to enhance religious moderation and tolerance

  • Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal receives book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model”
  • Second workshop tackles use of technology in crowd control

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has inaugurated the “mithaq” initiative, the first of its kind to be held at the Holy Mosques, and received the book on “Following the Steps of the Role Model” from the General President of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais.

The initiative included three workshops: The first workshop, Creating Initiatives in Moderation and Tolerance, was managed and supervised by the Prince Faisal Center for Moderation. It attracted many scholars and academicians and approved 27 initiatives to enhance moderation and tolerance.

The second workshop was on using technology in crowd control — engineering solutions for better crowd flow and for enhancing security control.

The third workshop was about the media and the global mission of the Holy Mosques. It was attended by many media personalities and university professors, and was characterized by serious discussion before agreement on quality initiatives with tangible results.

During the Makkah cultural days, Prince Khaled inaugurated the pact of the role model, which represents a holistic commitment to quality service from leaders, employees, security personnel and everyone serving at the Holy Mosques. This pact is an interpretation of the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Prince Khaled toured the exhibition and praised the efforts of each department in the service of the pilgrims and visitors of the Holy Mosques.

Al-Sudais held a conference about the impact of the Holy Mosques in enhancing the role model, presided over by Sheikh Saleh Al-Taleb, imam of the Holy Mosque. It was attended by Sheikh Saad Al-Shathri, adviser at the royal court, and Sheikh Hassan bin Abdul Hameed Bukhari.