Guwahati, Dec 13:
Repeatedly harassed and abused by the current regime in Dhaka, Bangladesh’s lone Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has brought laurels to the south Asian nation once again and this time the award comes from the world of football. The founder of Grameen Bank (of Bangladesh), which shared the Nobel peace 2006 award with Prof Yunus, is honoured with the World Football Summit Award in Jeddah of Saudi Arabia.
A brilliant economist turned the banker to the poor turned social entrepreneur and motivator Prof Yunus was handed over the WFS lifetime achievement award as a recognition to his extraordinary contribution to impact in the sports industry and lifetime achievements. The coveted award delivering function was organised on 11 December 2023 on the eve of the latest edition of World Football Summit, that takes place in Jeddah from 12 to 13 December.
The summit specifically celebrated the softspoken Bengali gentleman’s establishment of the Yunus Sports Hub, a global organisation using the power of sport and social business to tackle poverty, unemployment, and also the climate crisis. This year four outstanding individuals (Dr Nadia Nadim, a professional footballer & physician, Helen Aluzaizi of PACES and Datuk Seri Windsor John of AFC, besides Prof Yunus), were honoured as every one contributed immensely for delivering a lasting impact within football and beyond.
“I am truly honoured to receive this esteemed honour from the WFS. As we celebrate sport, let us recognise its potential for positive change through sports, but let us also recognise our own potential as human beings, be it individually or collectively, to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives,” said Prof Yunus, adding that sport is synonymous with youth, commitment to achieve dreams and creating new frontiers.
Speaking to this writer from Dhaka, Prof Yunus also expressed hope that the universal language of sport should be harnessed collectively. Moreover, the practical power of social business needs to be cultivated to inspire a future where sport does not only entertain but also dedicates itself to create a new world free from global warming, wealth concentration, and unemployment. And most importantly, let us do it with joy, he added.
Amidst all the difficulties in his home country, where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina relentlessly targets him with her unusual enmity towards the most-known Bangladeshi national around the world, Prof Yunus continues empowering individuals and organisations which use sports as a catalyst for addressing social and environmental challenges under the principles of social business, since the inception of Yunus Sports Hub in 2018. A remarkable and inspirational figure who dedicated his entire life to bring about social change Prof Yunus was earlier honoured with the Olympic Laurel award.