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Yunus Centre at AIT Hosts 11th SBAC with Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus: Advancing Social Business Research and Collaboration

02 Apr 2024
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By AIT Public Affairs and Yunus Center AIT

2 April 2024: At the opening 11th Social Business Academia Conference (SBAC), Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate 2006, Chairman, Yunus Centre, Bangladesh delivered a compelling speech regarding the current state of university education and its impact on creativity and human dignity. His thought-provoking address left a significant impression on the attendees, urging them to consider this critical issue. The conference, co-hosted by the Yunus Center at the Asian Institute of Technology (YCA) and Professor Muhammad Yunus, along with Yunus Centre, Dhaka, was held on April 1-2, 2024, with the theme “Social Business Research – Objectives, Methodologies & Priorities.”

In his keynote address, Professor Muhammad Yunus emphasized the crucial role of academia in addressing societal issues. He urged for an economic system redesign to tackle poverty and other global challenges, highlighted the significance of young people in driving change, and encouraged collective action to address pressing global issues. Furthermore, he warned about the potential dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence and the urgency of addressing carbon emissions, wealth concentration, and unemployment to avoid catastrophic consequences. He encouraged young people to create a new civilization that prioritizes serving humanity and problem-solving over profit. He underlined the power of collective action and individual responsibility in building a sustainable future.

Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus fills the AIT Auditorium as he hosts the 11th SBAC, coinciding with YCA’s 15th year anniversary

Prof. Yunus commended the YCA for its 15th anniversary, applauding their courageous and unconventional approach to problem-solving. He highlighted the challenges of believing in alternative methods and praised the center’s achievements as examples of the success of their unique approach. Prof. Yunus expressed appreciation for AIT’s decision to establish the Yunus Center and emphasized its significance in paving the way for innovative solutions.

During the conference, 23 academic papers and ongoing research from 7 different tracks on Social Business were presented in addition to 4 plenaries that covered important topics on Social Business and Academia, moderated by senior members of the social business academia network. 

Prof. Nitin Tripathi, AIT’s Vice President for Academic Affairs  expressed gratitude to Prof. Yunus for his vision for social business, praising his action-oriented approach to economic empowerment and enterprise-led development, implemented in over 30 countries. He encouraged attendees to engage in meaningful discussions and collaborations, leveraging their passions and the scientific method to address pressing social issues with concrete actions and measurable impact.

Prof. Nitin Tripathi
Prof. Cam Donaldson
Prof. Faiz Shah

Professor Cam Donaldson, the Yunus Chair and Distinguished Professor of Health Economics at Glasgow Caledonian University, expressed his gratitude and extended congratulations to the Yunus Social Business Center and its community for their valuable contributions to the social business movement. He emphasized the significance of the conference in reinforcing the idea of social business as a movement and encouraged attendees to participate in interdisciplinary conversations.

Prof. Faiz Shah, the Executive Director of YCA, expressed his sincere gratitude for being able to welcome Professor Yunus back to AIT for the conference, which also coincides with the 15th anniversary of YCA. He encouraged participation from both young entrepreneurs and partners during the conference, which features academic papers and projects.

The event brought together more than 250 participants from universities, students, academics, researchers, and supporters from Australia, Bangladesh, Britain, China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and the USA to share innovative ideas and solutions.


About Yunus Centre AIT

The Yunus Center AIT (YCA) is a collaboration between Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Asian Institute of Technology. The first such center established with an academic institution, YCA’s vision is to harness the power of social business to create a poverty-free world. YCA adopts an action-learning approach that fosters the development and implementation of social business models informed by research, technology, and partnerships, focusing on gender equality. YCA draws upon the knowledge infrastructure and the global research network of the Asian Institute of Technology and taps into the expertise of individuals and organizations representing most countries.

Celebrating its 15th year of establishment in 2024, YCA strives to promote Professor Yunus’ mission to build a world of three zeros – that a world of “zero poverty, zero unemployment, and zero carbon emissions” is very much possible. All of the center’s activities carry these goals forward, forging meaningful engagements and collaborations in addition to WePOWER-SAR100. Some examples include the Genki Campus, an affordable tele-healthcare system developed jointly with Japan’s Kyushu University and Grameen Communications, and the soon-to-be-launched Water-Energy-Food Nexus with Pakistan’s Rizq Foundation. The Energy Development, Services, Management, and Technology (EDSMAT) Program, established in 2012, continues to be a key driver by curating offerings by industry experts from AIT’s global network.