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Leuphana cooperates with Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus

2019-06-04 A Yunus Centre for Social Business is established in Lüneburg.

Professor Markus Reihlen (center l.) and Professor Muhammad Yunus (center, r.) present the signed memorandum. Credit: Yunus+You - The YY Foundation

Lüneburg/Wiesbaden. Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and Leuphana University Lüneburg have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement in Wiesbaden in May to establish a "Yunus Centre for Social Business and Values" (YSBC) at Leuphana University. The purpose of the centre will be to address in research and teaching the importance of companies pursuing social business models. Special attention will be paid to the ethical values of founders and to sustainability aspects. About five professors and other researchers will belong to the centre and are expected to start working in autumn this year.  

In 2006, social business expert Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Microcredit Bank he founded, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The bank, which is based in Bangladesh, grants microloans to poor people, opening up economic perspectives for them. Yunus has defined and developed the underlying microfinance concept and the concept of social business. There are currently 73 Social Business Centres (YSBC) worldwide, coordinated by the Yunus Centre in Dhaka. They are located at universities and non-university research institutions and are intended to help spread the idea of solving social problems through economic activity.

The new Yunus Centre for Social Business and Values at Leuphana University will be an institution investigating social entrepreneurship in the context of sustainability, economy and changing values. The Lüneburg Centre will differ from other YSBCs in that, in addition to social science and economic aspects, the perspective of sustainability science will be particularly important. Within the framework of research-, teaching-, and transfer- activities, the aim is to address both students and founders and enable them to establish successful social enterprises.

Leuphana Vice-President Prof. Dr. Markus Reihlen, one of the initiators of the Yunus Centre in Lüneburg, is pleased about the new perspectives emerging with the foundation: "Professor Yunus' idea that social business combines the dynamics of traditional management with the social awareness of charity fits in with our mission and builds an important bridge between business and sustainability.”

Professor Yunus, the Wiesbaden-based joint venture of the Nobel Prize Laureate “The Grameen Creative Lab”, and Leuphana University have been in contact since 2009. Discussions focused on the question of how the activities and philosophy of Professor Yunus and the ambition of Leuphana as a university for the challenges of 21st century society could fit together. During the Utopia Conference at Leuphana last year, which was attended by the two speakers Dominique V. Dauster, director of the Yunus + You Foundation and Yunus’ Special Advisor / international Relations, Grameen Creative Lab, and Manouchehr Shamsrizi, i.a. Grameen Creative Lab / Yunus Brain Pool, the idea of establishing a YSBC became more concrete. Not least through the cooperation of Leuphana with the Hamburg Institute for Family Businesses and Professor Günther Strunk, the idea of a cross-faculty YSBC at Leuphana University could finally be implemented.

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