Nobel laureate honored by Taiwan university



TAIPEI — Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, attended the unveiling of a “Nobel Chair” in his honor, accompanied by various government officials, at National Central University (CNU) in northern Taiwan yesterday.

The unveiling ceremony dedicated to the Bangladeshi famous for his book “Banker to the Poor” was presided over by NCU President Jou Jing-yang.

Taoyuan Magistrate John Wu, who attended the presentation, hailed Yunus’ “micro-loan” concept and noted the positive impact it has had on underprivileged and disadvantaged minorities.

“Many countries, including Taiwan, have similar measures in place,” said Wu, “but lack effective policies for their implementation.”

Wu said that from this year on, the Taoyuan County Government will attempt to follow the example set in Yunus’ book and begin providing residents with micro-insurance.

Underprivileged families will only need to pay a premium of NT$180 (US$6) per year to receive possible compensation of up to NT$300,000 (US$9,944), he added, saying that although it is not much, the amount will still go a long way toward assisting needy families at critical times.

Wu also noted that several Taiwanese temples have long upheld the tradition of providing small loans to those in need, mirroring the idea of Yunus’ “bank for the poor.”

Meanwhile, NCU and the Bangladesh-based Yunus Centre announced the establishment of the Yunus Social Business Center, NCU, which will work jointly with the Yunus Centre Taiwan to conduct academic research on social businesses, defined as companies that are established for the benefit of society rather than for private profit.