by Lynsay Keough, Photos by Stuart Maxwell
Glasgow Caledonian University’s motto is ‘For the Common Weal’ – meaning for the common good and wellbeing. And that was the ethos behind the launch of the University’s Yunus Centre in Social Business and Health.
Through the Centre, Yunus chair and health economist, Professor Cam Donaldson, will lead a long-term research programme to evaluate the impact of social business and microfinance on the lives of disadvantaged communities.
Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University said: ‘The leading edge research carried out at the Yunus Centre will keep Glasgow Caledonian University at the forefront of health research in the UK and maintain the city’s reputation as the home of groundbreaking economics. Through this strategic partnership, Glasgow Caledonian will play a central role in advancing a new phase in economic and health development thinking.’
The centre carries the name of anti-poverty campaigner and Nobel Prize winner Professor Mohammed Yunus. While in Glasgow he will hold talks with John Swinney MSP, to discuss the possibility of setting up Britain’s first Grameen Bank in the city.
The Grameen Bank was started in Bangladesh three decades ago. It delivers small loans on suitable terms to borrowers. There are proportionally more loans to women as they, generally, have the responsibility and ability to create change for themselves and their children.
Over the last two years, three branches of the Bank have opened in New York.
Professor Yunus feels that this meeting in Glasgow has come at a crucial time. ‘By providing small loans on suitable terms, we have shown that even the poorest of the poor can bring about their own social and economic advancement. Scotland is a proud and enterprising country – but there are pockets of shocking poverty. If, using microcredit, we can help the poorest people get off welfare and realise their potential as human beings, then we must take the opportunity and we must take it now.’