In addition to the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Muhammad Yunus has won over 100 prestigious awards both nationally and internationally.
Within his own beloved Bangladesh Dr Yunus has received the Rashtropoti Purushkar (President's Award) in 1978 and the Central Bank Award in 1985. Two years later, in 1987, the Government of Bangladesh awarded the 47-year-old the Swadhinata Purushkar (Independence Day Award), also known as Swadhinata Padak, the nation's highest civilian award.
Internationally, Dr Yunus is the recipient of numerous awards for his ideas and endeavours from over 26 different countries. He has received state honours from over 10 countries and continues to be showered with renowned titles. Among these are: Ramon Magsaysay Award in the Field of "Community Leadership" from Philippines (1984), Aga Khan Award For Architecture from Switzerland (1989), Humanitarian Award by the CARE in USA (1993), Mohamed Sahabdeen Award for Science (Socio Economic) from Sri Lanka (1993), World Food Prize by World Food Prize Foundation in USA (1994), International Simon Bolivar Prize from Venezuela and UNESCO (1996), Sydney Peace Prize by the Sydney Peace Foundation in Australia (1998), King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award by the King Hussein Foundation in Jordan (2000), Volvo Environment Prize from Volvo Environment Prize Foundation in Sweden (2003), Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun in Japan (2004), Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Award by Roosevelt Institute of The Netherlands (2006), and the Seoul Peace Prize from Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation in Korea (2006).
Dr Muhammad Yunus has been awarded over 50 honorary doctorate degrees from universities across over 20 countries, and is the recipient of over 50 special honours.
In 2012 Dr Yunus was named one of the "12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time" by Fortune Magazine. He was the only social entrepreneur to appear in the list, which also included Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple.
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009) from USA
On 12 August 2009 Dr Muhammad Yunus was awarded the highest US civilian honour "The Medal of Freedom" by President Barack Obama at White House. The Medal of Freedom is awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking was also one of the other notable recipient of the award along with Dr Yunus.
With his belief in the self-reliance of all people, Professor Muhammad Yunus has altered the face of finance and entrepreneurship.
As an academic, he struggled with pervading economic theories and their effects on the people of his native Bangladesh. Yearning for a new way of lifting people out of poverty, he revolutionised banking to allow low-income borrowers access to credit. In the process, he has enabled citizens of the world's poorest countries to create profitable businesses, support their families, and help build sustainable communities. In doing so, Muhammad Yunus has unleashed new avenues of creativity and inspired millions worldwide to imagine their own potential.
White House's official introduction to Dr Yunus prior to medal presentation
First Muslim to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal Award (2013) by US Congress
A year after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Dr Yunus was awarded the "Congressional Gold Medal" award by the US congress in recognition of his efforts to combat global poverty. The Gold Medal represents Congress's highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. It is the nation's highest civilian award given to individuals who perform an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States. It is considered the Congressional equivalent to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Dr Yunus had been awarded the previous year.
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and his staff worked tirelessly in campaigning for Prof. Yunus to receive the distinction. In order to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal the nominee must be co-sponsored by at least two thirds of the members of both the House of Representatives and Senate. This was an extremely high threshold to pass.
On 5 October 2010 the Public Law 111-253 for the award was passed and a special bill S. 846 was passed in US congress to award Congressional Gold Medal to Professor Muhammad Yunus by unanimous vote. Republician Rush Holt (D-Hopewell Township) wrote the bill and lobbied fellow legislators to pass it. He collaborated with Prof. Yunus' supporters in central New Jersey, including members of the grass-roots anti-poverty group RESULTS NJ and the Bangladeshi community. Other House Representatives also aided him. The Gold Medal resolution passed both chambers by more than the required two-thirds majority - 296 representatives out of 357 approved. Senate approval was unanimous. President Obama signed the bill and approved the decision to award the esteemed professor the Congressional medal. Finally, on 17 April 2013 at 11 a.m. Dr Yunus was awarded the prestigious honour in the Capitol Rotunda. He became the first Muslim ever to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal. He now joined famous historical likes George Washington, Sir Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in being bestowed the rare honour.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) led the glowing tribute. Other speakers included Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Let me thank my colleagues for their fine words. In a few moments, we will present Professor Yunus with the Gold Medal.
What makes this medal so unique – so American – is that it can go to anyone from anywhere. It’s not an award we only give to generals and presidents. Because one thing that makes America more than a country is the idea that you don’t need a big job or a fancy title to do something bigger than yourself.
Professor Yunus set out to do what may be the biggest thing of all, and that is liberating people to seek a better life. And not just any people, but men and women who had only known misery, who had been told they were no good.
To do all this, he first had to teach himself how to run a bank from scratch. That was when he realized he had to do the exact opposite of what a bank normally does to make his idea work Then there was actually getting people to borrow the money, to see value in themselves, to spark their sense of wonder. He had to convince them that they too didn't need rank or status to advance their place in life.
Then of course there were all the skeptics. One banker called his experiment 'nothing, a flyspeck. Another said this 'is not really a bank. It depends too much on Professor Yunus’s personality. We can't have a Yunus in every branch.’
Right then and there, in front of a table full of bankers, Professor Yunus drew up a five-year expansion plan for his experiment. And challenged them to choose areas he could never reach all at once. Of course, his plan succeeded, and millions around the world are better for it.
Yes, the idea is the thing. But as the paintings on this wall remind us, it's the hard work and the sacrifice that separates the doers from the dreamers.
And so for Professor Muhammad Yunus – a revolutionary in his own right – the United States Mint has struck a Gold Medal, which we present with awe and gratitude.
House Speaker John Boehner
Dr. Yunus showed that, contrary to the old, cynical saying than bankers 'loan money only to people who don't need it,' it could be profitable to loan money to poor people who had not shown marketable skills or facility in handling money. In the face of skepticism and opposition, he built a microcredit banking business that thrived, lifted millions of people out of poverty, and provided a model for similar work around the world.
Republican Rush Holt praises Prof Yunus for bypassing loan sharks
It was surreal to see Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, and Reps. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, make common cause. They may not agree on what is best for America, but they agree that Muhammad Yunus' initiative is good for the world. For 75 minutes, during the ceremony, Muhammad Yunus forced American legislators into bipartisanship.
...There was something gratifying in watching the leaders of the world's wealthiest nation wholeheartedly embrace the world's No. 1 advocate for the poor.
Fakhruddin Ahmed, D. Phil., Rhodes scholar in US
During the ceremony's interlude, halfway through the program, soprano Monica Yunus, professor Yunus' eldest daughter and a graduate of The Lawrenceville School (1995), sang Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer". She dedicated the song to her father.
For my father Muhammad Yunus, who is indeed a beautiful dreamer.
Monica Yunus at Capitol Hill
Finally, John Boehner presented Dr Yunus with the medal which had his name, face and signature inscribed on the front. On the back of the Medal it had the title "Banker to the poor" and a globe transformed into a shapla ful (lilly flower), Bangladesh's national flower. On the globe is a quote chosen by Professor Yunus from his Nobel Lecture which reads in Bengali "Amra dabidorke jadughar'e patabo" (Let us put poverty in the museum).
Poverty is not created by the poor people. Poverty is created by the system we have built. Nothing is wrong with the poor people. Each human being is packed with unlimited creative capacity. And I give the example of the Bonsai tree. I said — take the seed of the tallest tree in the forest. Put the seed in a flowerpot. It will remain small. We call it Bonsai. Poor people are Bonsai people. There is nothing wrong with their seed. They could be as tall as anybody in the world. Simply don't put them in the flowerpot. Give them the space to grow.
We have created a money-centric world. We have become money-making robots. I say human beings are not robots. We are multidimensional beings. We can change the banking system. Why can't the bank open its doors to all the people?
We can change the world. Nobody should be a poor person. I am very happy – House members and senators – leaders of both parties have put those words in the medal that we can put poverty in the museum. That's what those words say in the medal.
And let's believe in it. Let's make it happen, so that someday soon, we will visit the museum to see poverty, because we will never see poverty in the society. It does not belong to a civilized society.
Let's create a world where nobody will be unemployed. Let's create a world where nobody will die unnecessarily. Nobody will suffer from unnecessary diseases.
So I am receiving this award on behalf of those millions of women in Bangladesh. And also on behalf of all the people of Bangladesh. Because it's not only an honor personally for me. It's an honor for the whole country of Bangladesh, the very hard-working people of Bangladesh.
1 of 7 people ever to win the trifecta
By receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, Dr Yunus became one of only seven persons to have won the trifecta - the Nobel Peace Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. The others include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Norman Borlaug and Mother Teresa.
From 1993 to 1995, Professor Yunus was a member of the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women, a post to which he was appointed by the UN secretary general. He has served on the Global Commission of Women's Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance.
Dr Yunus is also a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation.
Some of the honours bestowed upon this entrepreneur...
- Rashtropoti Purushkar (President's Award) (1978)
- Central Bank Award (1985)
- Swadhinata Purushkar (Independence Day award) (1987)
- Rear Admiral M. A. Khan Memorial Gold Medal Award (1993)
- Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim Memorial Gold Medal Award (1994)
- Rotary Club of Metropolitan Dhaka Foundation Award (1995)
- IDEB Gold Medal Award by the Institute of Diploma Engineers (2000)
- Bangladesh Computer Society Gold Medal by the Bangladesh Computer Society (2005)
- Ramon Magsaysay Award in the Field of "Community Leadership", Philippines (1984)
- Aga Khan Award For Architecture, Switzerland (1989)
- Humanitarian Award by the CARE, USA (1993)
- Mohamed Sahabdeen Award for Science (Socio Economic), Sri Lanka (1993)
- World Food Prize by World Food Prize Foundation, USA (1994)
- Pfeffer Peace Prize by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA (1994)
- Tun Abdul Razak Award, Malaysia (1994)
- Max Schmidheiny Foundation Freedom Prize, Switzerland (1995)
- International Simon Bolivar Prize, Venezuela & UNESCO (1996)
- Distinguished Alumnus Award" of Vanderbilt University, USA (1996)
- International Activist Award Gleitsman Foundation, USA (1997)
- Planetary Consciousness Business Innovation Prize, Germany (1997)
- Help for self help Prize by the Stromme Foundation, Norway (1997)
- Man for Peace Award by the Together For Peace Foundation, Italy (1997)
- State of the World Forum Award by the State of the World Forum, San Francisco, USA (1997)
- One World Broadcasting Trust Media Award, UK (1998)
- The Prince of Austurias Award for Concord, Spain (1998)
- Sydney Peace Prize by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Australia (1998)
- Ozaki (Gakudo) Award by the Ozaki Yukio Memorial Foundation, Japan (1998)
- Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, India (1998)
- Juste of the Year by the Les Justes D'or, France (1998)
- Rotary Award for World Understanding, USA (1999)
- Golden Pegasus Award by the TUSCAN Regional Government, Italy (1999)
- Roma Award for Peace and Humanitarian Action by the Municipality of Rome, Italy (1999)
- Rathindra Puraskar for 1998 by the Visva-Bharati, India (1999)
- OMEGA Award of Excellence for Lifetime Achievement, Switzerland (2000)
- Award of the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Senate, Italy (2000)
- King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Award by the King Hussein Foundation, Jordan (2000)
- Artusi prize by Comune di Forlimpopoli, Italy (2001)
- Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize, Japan (2001)
- Ho Chi Minh Award by the Ho Chi Minh City Peoples Committee, Vietnam (2001)
- International Cooperation Prize Caja de Granada, Spain (2001)
- NAVARRA International Aid Award by the Autonomous Government of Navarra together with Caja Laboral (Savings Bank), Spain (2001)
- Mahatma Gandhi Award by the M.K Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, USA (2002)
- World Technology Network Award 2003 for Finance by the World Technology Network, UK (2003)
- Volvo Environment Prize, Sweden (2003)
- National Merit Order by the Honorable President of the Republic of Colombia, Colombia (2003)
- The Medal of the Painter Oswaldo Guayasamin by the UNESCO, France (2003)
- Telecinco Award for Better Path Towards Solidarity by the Spanish TV Netwark - Channel 5, Spain (2004)
- City of Orvieto Award by the Municipality of Orvieto, Italy (2004)
- The Economist Award for Social and Economic Innovation, USA (2004)
- World Affairs Council Award for Extra-ordinary Contribution to Social Change by the World Affairs Council of Northern California, USA (2004)
- Leadership in Social Entrepreneurship Award by Fuqua School of Business of Duke University, USA (2004)
- Premio Galileo 2000 - Special Prize for Peace by Ina Assitalia Fireuze, Italy (2004)
- Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Nikkei), Japan (2004)
- Golden Cross of the Civil Order of the Social Solidarity by the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Spain (2005)
- Freedom Award by the America's Freedom Foundation, Provo, Utah, USA (2005)
- Prize Il Ponte by the Fondazione Europea Guido Venosta, Italy (2005)
- Foundation of Justice, Spain (2005)
- Neustadt Award by Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA (2006)
- Global Citizen of the Year Award by Patel Foundation for Global understanding, Tampa, Florida, USA (2006)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Award by Roosevelt Institute, Middleburg, Province of New Zeeland, Netherlands (2006)
- ITU World Information Society Award by International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, Switzerland (2006)
- Seoul Peace Prize 2006 by Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, Seoul, Korea (2006)
- Convivencia (Good Fellowship) of Ceuta 2006 by Fundacion Premio Convivencia, Ceuta, Spain, (2006)
- Nobel Peace Prize, Norway (2006)
- Disaster Mitigation Award 2006 by FIRST INDIA Disaster Management Congress 2006, Delhi, India (2006)
- SHERA BANGALEE 2006 by ETV, India (2006)
- Global Trailblazer Award 2007 by the Vital Voices, Washington DC, USA (2007)
- ABICC Award For Leadership In Global Trade, USA (2007)
- Social Entrepreneur Award 2007 by the Geoffrey Palmer Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Law, Pepperdine School of Law, USA (2007)
- Global Entrepreneurship Leader Award 2007 by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, USA (2007)
- Red Cross Gold Medal, Spain (2007)
- Rabindra Nath Tagore Birth Centenary Plaque 2007 by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, India (2007)
- EFR-Business Week Award 2007 by the University of Rotterdam, Netherlands, (2007)
- Nichols-Chancellor Medal by the Vanderbilt University, USA (2007)
- Vision Award by the Global Economic Network, Berlin, Germany (2007)
- BAFI Global Achievement Award by the Bangladesh-American Foundation Inc., USA (2007)
- Rubin Museum Mandala Award, USA (2007)
- Sakaal Person of the Year Award, India (2007)
- 1st AHPADA Global Award by the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (ASPADA), Philippines (2007)
- Medal of Honor by the Government, Santa Catrina State, Brazil (2007)
- UN South-South Cooperation by the United Nations, USA (2007)
- Project Concern Award by Project Concern International, Santa Barbara, California, USA (2008)
- International Women's Health Coalition Award, USA (2008)
- The Kitakyushu Environmental Award by the Mayor of City of Kitakyushu, Japan (2008)
- Chancellor's Medal by York College, USA (2008)
- President's Medal by Lehman College, USA, (2008)
- Human Security Award by Muslim Public Affairs Council, USA (2008)
- Annual Award for Development by OPEC Fund for International Development(OFID), Austria (2008)
- Humanitarian Award by The International Association of Lions Clubs, USA (2008)
- Friend of Children by Save the Children, Spain (2008)
- AGI International Science by University of Cologne, Germany (2008)
- Corine International Book Award by the Bavaraian Government for the book, "Creating World Without Poverty", Germany (2008)
- TWO WING prize by the Freie Universitat, Berlin, Germany (2008)
- Global Humanitarian Awards by the Tech Museum, San Jose, California, USA (2008)
- World Affairs Council Awards, USA (2008)
- Full Impact Award, USA (2008)
- Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize, Portugal (2009)
- Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service, USA (2009)
- Golden Biatec Award by the Economic Club, Slovakia (2009)
- Gold Medal of Honor Award, USA (2009)
- PICMET Leadership in Technology Management, USA (2009)
- Presidential Medal of Freedom, USA (2009)
- The Sustainable Development Award by Ecology and Development Foundation, Spain (2009)
- The Bayreuth Leadership Award by the University of Bayreuth, Wiesbaden, Germany (2009)
- Prize for Ethical Business Award 2010 by the Creighton University, Omaha, USA (2010)
- Presidential Medallion Award by the President, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA (2010)
- Presidential Medal Award by the Emory University, Atlanta, USA (2010)
- SolarWorld Einstein Award, Spain (2010)
- Presidential Medal Award 2010 by the Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida, USA (2010)
- Congressional Gold Medal, USA (2010)
- Order of the Sun in the Grade of Grand Cross, Peru (2010)
- Global Award, the Third China Poverty Eradication Awards by The State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development Management, Government of People's Republic of China and China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China (2010)
- St. Vincent de Paul Award by DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA (2011)
- Elon Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership, USA (2011)
- Jean Mayer Global Citizen Award by the Institute for Global Leadership of Tufts University, USA (2012)
- Outstanding Entrepreneur of Our Time and The Best Humanitarian of the Year" by OFC Venture Challenge, USA (2012)
- Transformational Leadership Award from the Wright Foundation for Transformational Leadership, USA (2012)
- Freedom Award by the National Civil Rights Museum at Memphis, Tennessee, USA (2012)
- Salute to Greatness Award 2013 by Martin Luther King Center, USA (2013)
- Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award 2013 by Quinnipiac University, Connecticut, USA 2013()
- Global Treasure Award by Skoll Foundation, Oxford, UK (2013)
- Congressional Gold Medal award by the US congress, USA (2013)
- Forbes 400 Philanthropy Forum Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship by Forbes Magazine, USA (2013)
- Asian American/ Asian Research Leadership Award, USA (2013)
- Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by the University of East Anglia, UK (1992)
- Doctor of Humanities by the Oberlin College, USA (1993)
- Doctor of Law, honoris causa, by the University of Toronto, Canada (1995)
- Doctor of Law by the Haverford College, USA (1996)
- Doctor of Law by the Warwick University, UK (1996)
- Doctor of Public Service by the Saint Xaviers' University, USA (1997)
- Doctor of Civil Law, Honoris Causa by the University of the South, USA (1998)
- Doctor Honoris Cause by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (1998)
- Doctor of Social Science, honoris causa by the Yale University, USA (1998)
- Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa by the Brigham Young University, USA (1998)
- Doctor of Science in Economics by the University of Sydney, Australia (1998)
- Doctor of the University by the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia (2000)
- Doctor in Economics and Business (Laurea Honoris Causa) by the University of Turin, Turin, Italy (2000)
- Degree of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa by the Colgate University, Hamilton, USA (2002)
- Doctor Honoris Causa by the University Catholique of Louvain, Belgium (2003)
- Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universitad Nacional De Cuyo, Argentina (2003)
- Doctor of Economics, honoris Causa by the University of Natal, South Africa (2003)
- Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa by the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswayvidyalaya, India (2004)
- Doctor of Technology, Honoris Causa by the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand (2004)
- Doctor in Business Economics, Honoris Causa by the University of Florence, Italy (2004)
- Doctor in Pedagogyst by the University of Bologna, Italy (2004)
- Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain (2004)
- Doctor in Economics by the University of Venda, South Africa (2006)
- Doctor of Humane Letters by the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2006)
- Doctor of Honoris Causa by the University of Alicante in Valencia, Spain (2006)
- Doctor of Honoris Causa by the University of Valencia, in Valencia, Spain (2006)
- Doctor of Honoris Causa by the University of Jaume I in Valencia, Spain (2006)
- Doctor of Laws by the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh (2007)
- Doctor of Humanities by the Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan (2007)
- Doctor of Economics by the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia (2007)
- Doctor of Philosophy by the Ewha Womans University, Korea (2007)
- Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa Degree by the Earth University, Costa Rica (2007)
- Honorary Degree by the Regis University, USA (2008)
- Honorary Degree by the University of British Columbia, Canada (2008)
- Honorary Doctorate Degree by Moscow State University, Russia (2008)
- Honoris Causa Degree in Science of Cooperation and Development by Sapienza University of Rome, Italy (2008)
- Doctorate of Letters (D. Litt) in Glasgow Caledonia University, Glasgow, UK (2008)
- Doctorate in University of Glasgow, UK (2008)
- Honorary Degree in Kobe University, Japan (2009)
- Doctors of Law Degree by University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA (2009)
- Honorary Degree from Hokkaido University, Japan (2009)
- Doctorate in Istanbul Commerce University, Istanbul, Turkey (2009)
- Doctor of Humane Letters from Duke University, Durham, USA (2010)
- Doctorate in Kwansei Guakin University, Kobe, Japan (2010)
- Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada (2010)
- Doctor Honoris Causa from San Ignacio de Loyola University, Lima, Peru (2010)
- Doctor Honoris Causa from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru (2010)
- Doctor Honoris Causa from University of Mons in Mons, Belgium (2010)
- Doctor of Science in Economics from London School of Economics at London, UK (2011)
- Honorary Degree of Doctorate from Tohoku University, Japan (2012)
- Doctor of Humane Letters degree fromTuskegee University, USA (2012)
- Doctors of Letters from Emory university, USA (2012)
- Doctoris Honoris Causa from the European University of Tirana, Albania (2013)
- Honorary Degree from University of Salford, Manchester, UK (2013)
- Doctor Honoris Causa from Bolivia University of Aquino in Santa Cruz, Bolivia (2013)