Bangladesh’s world banker to the poor Professor Yunus to receive Olympic Laurel

Professor Muhammad Yunus meets IOC President Thomas Bach at Olympic House, Lausanne in 2020. © IOC
Professor Muhammad Yunus meets IOC President Thomas Bach at Olympic House, Lausanne in 2020. © IOC

Tokyo, Japan, July 16, 2021: Social entrepreneur, economist, civil society leader and Nobel Prize awardee Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh will become the second recipient of the Olympic Laurel. He will officially receive the trophy during the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games on July 23. 

The Olympic Laurel was created by the International Olympic Committee to honour outstanding individuals for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, who is often referred to as the “world’s banker to the poor”, receives the Olympic Laurel award for his extensive work in sport for development, including founding the Yunus Sports Hub, a global social business network that creates solutions through sport. 

He has collaborated with the IOC on several projects, including educational elements of the IOC Young Leaders Programme, the “Imagine” Peace Youth Camp and the Athlete365 Business Accelerator – the first comprehensive entrepreneurship programme to help Olympians with career transition.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The work of Professor Yunus is exemplary for these ideals and values. He shares his wealth of knowledge generously with the athletes and the Olympic community. He is a great inspiration for all of us. He helps athletes in their post-sport career development to become socially responsible entrepreneurs and shares our vision of how sport can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”

Professor Yunus commented: “The Olympic Games and sport have the most convening power in the world. The Olympic Games unite the entire world in peaceful competition, celebrating unity in diversity. North and South Korean athletes marching together in the Parade of Nations at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 was a powerful reminder of the immense potential of peace through sport.

“The Olympic Truce takes forward the vision of building a better world based on fair competition, peace, humanity and reconciliation. We can use this power to change the world in the most effective ways. Sport has the power to transform lives by galvanising the world, and social business can be the most efficient tool to unleash this power,” Professor Yunus added.