Thursday, February 24, 2011
Kerry Kennedy rallies behind Grameen
Kerry Kennedy, a human rights activist and niece of former American president John F Kennedy, has recently joined Friends of Grameen, an international platform set up to protect interests of Grameen Bank and its founder Muhammad Yunus.
She will be one of the vice presidents of the group's executive committee, said a statement of the group on Tuesday.
Michel Camdessus, former managing director of International Monetary Fund, also joined the forum as a member of its honorary committee chaired by Mary Robinson, ex-president of Ireland.
"I have decided to join the initiative because I have been a long-time admirer of Yunus and his lifetime devotion to the cause of the poor," the release quoted Camdessus as saying.
"The impact they had, building alternative poverty alleviation programmes in Bangladesh and abroad is beyond imagination. Protecting this living heritage is a priority for all those interested in economic and social development."
Meanwhile, former chief justice of India Jagdish Sharan Verma came down heavily on Muzammel Huq, Grameen Bank's newly appointed chairman, for his "unacceptable" insult on its founder.
According to the statement Huq termed Yunus a "chicken-hearted man", causing uproar among supporters of microcredit and the Nobel laureate.
"In contrast with the chairman's shocking and acrimonious public remarks against Prof Yunus, we were quite relieved seeing government officials showing respect and appreciation for Yunus and the Grameen Bank," said Verma, member of the honorary committee of Friends of Grameen.
Floated on February 11, the forum also aims to promote microcredit and social business, especially the microcredit operations of Grameen Bank and its affiliates.
Members of the voluntary association include about 50 charities and public figures, including James Wolfensohn, former president of World Bank and Yeardley Smith, a French-born American actress. It has vowed to protect Yunus from “politically orchestrated” insults.
The government and Yunus' opponents are increasingly mounting pressure on the Nobel laureate after a Norwegian television channel aired a documentary in last December accusing him and Grameen Bank of malpractice in handling funds.
The bank, however, denied the charges saying the issue had been settled over a decade ago between the bank and the Norwegian government, one of its main donors.
Muhammad Yunus shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Grameen Bank in 2006