Yunus receives honorary citizenship in historic Italian city of Pistoia

10th May, 2016

Yunus receives honorary citizenship in historic Italian city of Pistoia

Yunus Centre Press Release (10 May, 2016)

Pistoia, Italy 10 May:

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus was conferred honorary citizenship of Pistoia by the Mayor of the nearly 1000 year old Tuscan city. The ceremony took place in the Town Hall which was built in 1200 on the morning of May 10. The event was attended by 300 dignitaries of Pistoia including government officials, business leaders, head of foundations, university representatives, and social entrepreneurs.

The Mayor in his speech said the City was conferring the honorary citizenship for his services to humanity through the creation if microcredit, and social business, to address humanity's problems. Professor Yunus thanked the mayor and the city for conferring on him the honorary citizenship. He said people had the capability of changing their own lives given the opportunity. About young people, he said we should give them a chance to become entrepreneurs, not chase after scarce jobs. He explained the new entrepreneurs program introduced in Bangladesh which has provided equity capital to 5000 young people in Bangladesh to create businesses, and invited Pistoia to start programs to turn unemployed youth into entrepreneurs. There is currently 35% youth unemployment in Italy.

Pistoia is an ancient city 30 minutes from Florence and famous for building and export of train compartments, as leading producer of paper, and for supplying nursery plants throughout Europe, as well as for priducing pasta molds.
Pistoia became a social business city in 2013. A special association called Social Business Lab Pistoia supported by the two largest foundations in Pistoia, has been created to take forward the program.

After the ceremony Prof Yunus visited two social businesses and addressed a gathering of two hundred high school students who had participated in a city wide social business competition.

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