Professor Muhammad visited Chile in July this year. The visit provided Chileans an opportunity to listen to Professor Yunus' ideas, beliefs and experience in working with the poor people around the world.
The visit resulted from an invitation from Jaime Estevez, President of Banco del Estado, the Central Bank of Chile.
Mr Estevez's intention was to introduce Grameen's ideas to the public and private sector in Chile and provide an insight into a different way of working for the development of the country; a way in which the poor are not seen as a burden on the state or a problem, but rather as a resource that will benefit the entire society. A recurrent theme in the discussions with Jaime Estévez, president of Banco de Chile and the economist Luis Larrain was, "Is it possible to look into poverty differently, to build a different country?"
A number of important events took place during Professor Yunus' visit. He met with President Ricardo Lagos as well as with business leaders and entrepreneurs, representatives of the banking sector, finance, politicians and the media.
Professor Yunus addressed an audience of two thousand people at a meeting in the 'Diego Portales' conference center. He said that there is a need to trust in and recognize the capacity of all people in the society. There is need to recognize that all people, whatever their social background, have dignity. That they should be given the opportunity to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Professor Yunus stated that given the conditions prevailing in Chile, it could be the first country in Latin America that would altogether eradicate poverty. As Chile has been a model for economic growth in South America, other countries would follow its example. Professor Yunus also highlighted the successes with this approach that have taken place in other countries of the world. He called on the young people to join the movement to radically change a world that marginalizes poor people.
Professor Yunus participated in the launching of a new network of microfinance institutions in Chile. The network would promote policies that contribute towards poverty alleviation and give greater access to microcredit for poor people.
By Bernardo Javalquinto in Chile