On May 8-10, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will present the keynote speech at the third annual Knowledge Globalization Conference in Dhaka, Bangaladesh. This is the first time the conference, sponsored by the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University and hosted by North South University in Dhaka, will be held outside the United States, but conference co-chair and Accounting Associate Professor Gail Sergenian said interest in the event has been overwhelming.
“I think there’s an assumption that there’s a lot to be learned by people in the third world through information sharing,” said Gail Sergenian, “but what we’ve discovered through these conferences, is that the flow of information goes both ways, and there’s a lot to be learned from people in those third world countries.”
Dr. Yunus’ work with the Grameen Bank, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 2006, is an example of starting small and getting big results. His work with microcredit, in which the Grameen Bank lends money to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans, transformed lives and improved the economy in Bangaladesh. He has also worked successfully on social business opportunities, businesses that generate a profit, but not for the investor, for the company to reinvest to help others. Yunus’ model can be adapted for many countries and many situations, and through the conference, the Knowledge Globalization Institute and the organization’s journal, the organizers hope to make that information widely available. Yunus will also collaborate with Dr. Mawdudur Rahman, Accounting Professor, to develop an online course in social business. Rahman is also president of the Knowledge Globalization Institute, chairman of the conference, and the founder of the Suffolk online MBA program.
In addition to Yunus’ appearance, about 100 papers will be presented by participants from 14 countries, and the conference will be attended by over 200 people from 36 different countries.
“We are particularly thrilled to have several undergraduates attending the conference,” said Myra Lerman, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Programs, Director of Honors Programs at the Sawyer Business School. “They will serve as ambassadors for the school during the conference,” she said. The students will also visit the Yunus Center at the Grameen Building, attend a presentation on Social Business and go on field trips to the Daudkandi Veolia project, a garment factory and a pharmaceutical project. The students will offer their perspectives at the next Knowledge Globalization Conference, November 5-7 in Boston.