Golden Gavel Award
Professor Mohammad Yunus accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, in 2006
Toastmasters’ most prestigious award is the Golden Gavel. It has been given annually since 1959 to an individual distinguished in the fields of communication and leadership. The award is presented at the Toastmasters International Convention.
Toastmasters International has named Muhammad Yunus its 2015 Golden Gavel recipient in recognition for his efforts to end poverty through micro-lending and cause-driven businesses in his home country of Bangladesh and throughout the world.
Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. An economics professor and a humanitarian, he founded Grameen Bank in 1983 to provide small loans—known as microcredit—to impoverished people, mostly women. As of 2011, Grameen Bank provides services in nearly all villages in Bangladesh. While the bank operates only in Bangladesh, the U.S.-based Grameen Foundation works with organizations around the world to help them serve the poor. Yunus has founded more than 50 companies or joint ventures that address problems such as malnutrition, contaminated water and inaccessible healthcare.
Yunus holds a doctorate in economics. He is currently chairman of the Yunus Center in Bangladesh and chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University in the United Kingdom. He serves on the board of several international advisory groups and has received numerous awards from governments, universities and organizations around the world. He authored the books Banker to the Poor, Building Social Business and Creating a World Without Poverty.