Transforming poor and marginalised communities through research into social business and health is the aim of a new agreement between UNSW and Nobel peace laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Professor Yunus and UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor Les Field signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at a ceremony in Sydney on Friday, 10 October.

“This exciting partnership will focus on research into the development of innovative approaches to making healthcare available and affordable for those who are left out,” said Professor Yunus.

Under the MOU, UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine will collaborate with the Yunus Centre, established by the Nobel laureate, to improve health outcomes for poor communities in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Field said the agreement represented the beginning of an ongoing relationship between the University and the Yunus Centre, which aims to promote social business as a means to reduce poverty.

“This agreement will enhance UNSW’s research strengths in the area of global health and improve understanding of the impact of poverty on health, and health on poverty,” Professor Field said.

“It will foster the formation of research networks and collaboration, the sharing of knowledge, and training and development opportunities."

Under the agreement, the creation of a new ‘Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health’ at UNSW will also be considered. The centre would be part of a global network of university-based Yunus research centres.

Professor Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and the US Presidential Medal for Freedom in 2009 for his work as the founder of Grameen Bank. 

Grameen Bank provides small, low-interest loans to the poor in Bangladesh as a means to lift people out of poverty. This model of ‘microfinance’ has been replicated around the world.

Media contact: Leilah Schubert, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 8107.

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