FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 29, 2010
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Gina Logue, 615-898-5081
YUNUS PROGRAM HONORS NOBELIST, FORMER MTSU PROFESSOR
Agreement with Bangladeshi University to Lead to Academic Exchange
(MURFREESBORO) – Officials of Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Chittagong (CU) in Bangladesh have finalized a five-year agreement of friendship and exchange that will pave the way for the establishment of programs honoring the work and philosophy of Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Abu Yusuf Alam, vice chancellor of CU, on March 3 and by Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president, on April 6. It states, in part, “CU and MTSU will engage in collaborative activities in education, research, public service and other areas of mutual interest, including exchange of faculty, staff, students, and library materials, as well as sponsorship of conferences and workshops.”
Yunus was an assistant professor of economics at MTSU from 1969-72, associate professor at CU from 1972-75 and professor at CU from 1975-89. Yunus and Grameen Bank, which he founded in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka, were awarded the Nobel jointly in 2006 for the institutionalization of microcredit. The practice of awarding low-interest loans to millions of people with little or no collateral is hailed as a means of helping to lift people in developing nations out of poverty. In recent years, Yunus also has stressed the concept of a “social business,” a no-loss, no-dividend private enterprise dedicated to public welfare.
“If there were a ‘President of the World,’ Yunus would be the first choice of most nations, including the U.S., China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the U.K., as well as virtually all developing countries, in my opinion,” says Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, Advisor to the President and the Provost on Asian Affairs and professor emeritus of economics and finance.
As part of the exchange, Md. Alauddin Majumber, an assistant professor in CU’s Department of Economics, will take a leave of absence to come to MTSU this August. Majumber will assist Yunus Program projects while pursuing a second master’s degree under a special graduate assistantship funded with a grant from the MTSU Foundation and a national government subsidy from Bangladesh.
“It is great to become a member of the MTSU family,” writes Majumber via e-mail from his home in Feni, Bangladesh. “I feel extremely proud to have been given this opportunity to carry out higher studies at MTSU. It is really exciting to think that my dream is going to be accomplished. I also realize that I will need to put in a huge amount of effort to meet the challenges I will inevitably face.”
Majumber teaches courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and resource and environmental economics at CU. He was assistant director of his country’s central bank from 2000-2002 and a research economist for the bank from 2005-2007.
Dr. Richard Hannah, a professor of economics and finance and co-founder of the Yunus Program, will visit CU and Grameen Bank this fall while he is on sabbatical from MTSU.
The University of Chittagong, a public institution with a student enrollment around 20,000, is one of the largest universities in Bangladesh. It is located 22 kilometers north of the city of Chittagong, which is Yunus’ hometown. The village of Jobra, where Yunus and his students first experimented with collateral-free loans, is located nearby.
Earlier this month, MTSU shipped 300 pounds of surplus academic books to CU for its library. Other possible implementations of the program could include a Yunus Collection of books, monographs, videos and photos about Yunus’ life; research, courses and lectures about his economic philosophy; a student internship program with Grameen Bank; and student and faculty exchanges.
Kawahito says the two universities’ respective economics departments will serve as the program’s liaison offices until a permanent university-wide body is established. He says he is hopeful that the emerging Yunus Program will inspire past, present and future MTSU students for many years to come.
“The Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU is very pleased to be associated with Dr. Yunus and his great work,” says Dr. E. James Burton, dean of the college. “We look forward to developing ways to participate with him in the area of economic development.”
“The MTSU Yunus Program exemplifies MTSU's role as a leading international university and its commitment to providing students (with) global perspectives,” says Dr. Charles L. Baum, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance.
For more information about the Yunus Program, contact Kawahito at 615-898-5751 or email@example.com.
ATTENTION, MEDIA: For color jpeg photos of Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito with Dr. Muhammad Yunus in Dhaka, Bangladesh, photos of Kawahito at the University of Chittagong, and a photo of Professor Majumber, contact Gina Logue in the MTSU Office of News and Public Affairs at 615-898-5081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.