Bangkok, June 29 (UNB) – Vatican will honour Prof Muhammed Yunus with the ‘Lamp of Peace’, an award exclusively given to honour those who work towards promoting peace and harmony.
Pope Francis has invited Nobel Laureate Prof Yunus to the Economic Summit in Spring 2020.
Father Enzo Fortunato, Spokesperson and Communication Director of The Holy Convent of Papal Basilica of Assisi, representing Vatican, invited Prof Yunus on behalf of Pope Frances and made the announcement on the first day of the two-day 9th Social Business Day.
The mega event ends on Saturday at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre, Central World.
Yunus Centre, Dhaka, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Kasetsart University, Thailand jointly organised the event.
Armida Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) also spoke on the institution’s role in promoting inclusive businesses in Asia and the Far East.
Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, Chairman of C-Asean talked about Thailand’s leading role and history in serving as a community hub for both South East Asian and global nations and how it wants to catalyse change and community spirit for social business development inclusively.
Dr Eden Woon, President of Asian Institute of Technology called on Yunus Social Business Centres, around the world towards working collaboratively with the single focus of improvement of human race through social business.
There were several notable video messages at this highly attractive event.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres sent a video message which highlighted the need for social business globally if they are to tackle the most pressing needs of all communities.
Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General, Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, talked about FAO’s collaboration with Prof Yunus in community and economic empowerment.
Thomas Bach, President, International Olympic Committee (IOC), thanked Prof Yunus in acting as a mentor for Olympic athletes in becoming social business entrepreneurs.
Academy award winner, actor Matt Damon and Gary White, co-founders of Water.org commended Dr. Yunus for providing the inspiration for their philanthropic work.
The inaugural day was quite an eventful one with speakers, change makers and delegates from diverse backgrounds and experience gathered under one roof to exchange their ideals, practices, successes and challenges in the realm of social businesses globally.
This year, the theme is ‘Making Money is Happiness, Making Other People Happy is Super Happiness’.
Panel discussions addressed a myriad of topics in relation to the social business ecosystem ranging from food and agriculture, deforestation, green energy to education, health, technology, sports as well as culture and arts.
Officer, Danone in his keynote talked about his personal journey in achieving ‘super happiness’ and his pathway to nurturing social business globally.
He mentioned, “Social business is a strategic stool which has changed the mindset for Danone and for me. This is a journey to find out what you are super happy about, to find out what you are best at and to give your best effort and devote your whole life to it”.
Mechai Viravaidya, Chairman Mechai Viravaidya Foundation, highlighted the fact that social business development should be taught in primary schools to ensure its long-term sustainability.
He further reiterated Prof Yunus’s quote from his book that ‘access to credit must be a human right’.
In the Pecha Kucha sessions, which is a storytelling format, where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each in 6 minutes and 40 seconds total, seven presenters highlighted their projects.
Notable presenters included Léa Klein, Director of MakeSense, Pracharat Rak Samakkee Social Business and Tongjai Thanachanan, Managing Director of C-Asean, Ashraful Hassan, Managing Director, Grameen Telecom and Sing For Hope Co-Founders Monica Yunus and Camille Zamora.
Two new Yunus Social Business Centres (YSBCs) were announced at National Taipei University of Business and Albukhary International University Malaysia. The total number of YSBCs globally is 76.
The other major announcements include the incubation of Social Business for Peace in Central African Republic and Columbia, the ideation behind creating a Sustainable social business city in South Africa, Dr. Harry Bradbury, Executive Chairman, Imaginatives Group Limited and the inauguration of the Danone Nations Cup with Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and Danone Representatives, announcement of creation of Yunus Thailand, as an umbrella organisation for all social business initiatives in Thailand.
Yukoh Satake, Co-CEO, Grameen Euglena, Japan mentioned the formation of a ‘Japan Action Tank’ to facilitate the growth, knowledge and development of social businesses in Japan.
Hans Reitz, Co-Founder, Grameen Creative Lab announced the Global Social Business Summit 2019 to be held later this year in November.
There were nine panel discussions and two plenary sessions on topics that ranged from ‘Food and Agriculture in the Context of Environment and Hunger” moderated by Eric Campos, Managing Director, Grameen Crédit Agricole Foundation, France; “Education: Purpose, Technology, Methodology’, ‘Corporates in Social Business: How to get traction, What is Missing?’, ‘Solving social business problems through technology’, youth leadership education and technology, food and agriculture in the context of environment and hunger, getting traction from corporates in social business, youth leadership and microfinance and other forms of financing in social business.
A panel discussion on ‘Art and Culture to bring Social Change through Social Business’ was moderated by Monica Yunus, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Sing for Hope.