Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus here on Tuesday called upon the academics around the world to chart out a new plan to protect human beings from the impending disasters on earth saying that the time is running out.
“We’ve to mobilise our all creative powers to make that happen and come up with a desired new path avoiding disasters,” he said highlighting the challenges the world is facing today including climate change issues.Prof Yunus made the call while opening the two-day Social Business Academia Conference.
Head of Global Social Business Summit and co-founder of the Grameen Creative Lab Hans Reitz, Yunus Centre Executive Director Lamiya Morshed and Pro Vice Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University and Yunus Chair in Social Business & Health, Glasgow Caledonian University Professor Cam Donaldson also spoke at the opening session.
Prof Yunus said human beings are not born to take defeat so easily but can find the way to become the master of the planet rather than being its “submissive passengers”.He urged all not to give up all the negative pictures saying these are to be aware of only and help move ahead towards building a new civilization.
Prof Yunus laid emphasis on communicating the realities of the day to the rest of the world that they cannot just go and have fun in this “spaceship” as if nothing is going to happen. “We’ve to take notice of it. We need to be prepared for it.”
He said the academic world is usually a tough path and not an easy world.”Imagine you’re within a spaceship. The planet is really a spaceship. It’s floating in the space,” Prof Yunus said adding that everybody is busy doing their own work not thinking much in which direction things are moving on and why.
He posed questions, “Who’re the pilots and crewmembers in the spaceship? We must push it in the right direction. So, we need academics. The fact is that we’ve very little time left.”Prof Yunus said the urgency has to be felt and required things have to be done very quickly. “We’ve to take action day after day.”
He said all need to work identifying why these disasters are coming and from which direction they are coming. “We must protect ourselves from the impending disasters.”Mentioning plastic as one of the serious issues, Dr Yunus said this is going to kill all – fish are eating plastic and we’re eating fish. “So, the plastic itself will be a killer.”
Talking about wealth concentration, he said this is an issue that all will have to take very, very seriously. Emphasining the equal distribution of wealth, he said there is a need to chart out a new path so that people do not fall into trouble.
Prof Yunus also talked about artificial intelligence which will naturally replace human beings.On that note, he said academics are the pilots, navigators of the spaceship and they have an important role to play to deal with the issues and challenges thus find the desired path.
Prof Yunus said the scholars have additional responsibilities to train up new pilots and crewmembers of the planet. “We may be small in number but have a very important responsibility.”He also said new pilots and crewmembers may come with a blank mind and ideas but they need to be enriched with ideas as they will take the spaceship as all desire to see it.
In her introductory words, Lamiya Morshed said the goal of the conference is to foster an inter-disciplinary and international academic and research community around Social Business, and generate more research and curricula in the field of social business.
The conference is a platform for networking of the growing network of Yunus Social Business Centres at universities around the world to share their experiences and future plans, she said. Lamiya informed that there are currently 64 Yunus Social Business Centres (YSBCs) in 28 countries.
The countries include Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan Malaysia, Nepal, Palestine, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Germany, Turkey, Poland, France, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Italy, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Bolivia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
She said the YSBC is essentially a social business hub set at universities or academic institutions in collaboration with the Yunus Centre to facilitate social business research, and undertake among other things, teaching, knowledge sharing and other action programme towards alleviating poverty or solving other pressing social problems.
Other important speakers included Prof Cam Donaldson, Pro Vice Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University and Yunus Chair in Social Business & Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, Prof Andrea Grove, Director, California Institute for Social Business, Dr Mark Shen, Director, YSBC, National Central University, Taiwan, Prof Benedicte Faivre Tavignot , Director of Social Business Chair, HEC, France, Prof Dr Gillian Sullivan Mort, Director of Yunus Social Business Centre, La Trobe Business School, Australia, Prof Dr Christine Volkmann, Professor, University of Wuppertal, Dr. Shahrina Md Nordin, Head of Centre of Social Innovation, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Dr Alejandro Mungaray Lagarda, Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico, Dr Enrico Testi, University of Florence, Dr Bordin Rassameethes, Director of Yunus Social Business Centre Kasetsart University and many others.
Representatives are also there from many new YSBCs such as Novel Academy Nepal, Zhengzhou University China, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences in India, University Private Cumbre, Bolivia.At this conference, 37 papers were selected from among 52 submitted covering SDGs, health, education and training, technology, marketing, financing social business, wealth concentration and other issues. There will also be special plenaries on the topics of development of academic research that are of a more practical nature.