Nobel Peace Prize awardee Professor Muhammad Yunus to receive Olympic Laurel

Social entrepreneur, economist, civil society leader and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh will become the second recipient of the Olympic Laurel. He will officially receive the trophy during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 23 July 2021. The distinction was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honour outstanding individuals for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, who is often referred to as the “world’s banker to the poor”, receives the Olympic Laurel award for his extensive work in sport for development, including founding the Yunus Sports Hub, a global social business network that creates solutions through sport. He has collaborated with the IOC on several projects, including educational elements of the IOC Young Leaders Programme, the “Imagine” Peace Youth Camp and the Athlete365 Business Accelerator – the first comprehensive entrepreneurship programme to help Olympians with career transition.

IOC President Thomas Bach said: “With the Olympic Laurel, we take forward the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder and reviver of the modern Olympic Games. It is also a reflection of the ideals and values of the ancient Olympic Games, with a focus on human development through peace and sport.”

He continued: “The work of Professor Yunus is exemplary for these ideals and values. He shares his wealth of knowledge generously with the athletes and the Olympic community. He is a great inspiration for all of us. He helps athletes in their post-sport career development to become socially responsible entrepreneurs and shares our vision of how sport can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. In particular, with Paris 2024, he is helping to build a new model for the Olympic Games with minimum impact for the planet and maximum impact for legacy for the people of the host country. We are very thankful for all he is doing for the Olympic community.”

Professor Yunus said: “The Olympic Games and sport have the most convening power in the world. The Olympic Games unite the entire world in peaceful competition, celebrating unity in diversity. North and South Korean athletes marching together in the Parade of Nations at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 was a powerful reminder of the immense potential of peace through sport. The Olympic Truce takes forward the vision of building a better world based on fair competition, peace, humanity and reconciliation.

“We can use this power to change the world in the most effective ways. Sport has the power to transform lives by galvanising the world, and social business can be the most efficient tool to unleash this power.

“Sport is natural to all human beings. It brings all human strengths and emotions into play, irrespective of differences. That gives it enormous power. I urge that we channel this power for achieving social goals and peace.”

The Olympic Laurel recipient for 2020 was selected by a distinguished judging panel representing all five continents: world-renowned Japanese film director Naomi Kawase for Asia; eminent scientist and then-Governor General of Canada Julie Payette for the Americas; Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa, for Africa; Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and Papua New Guinean politician Dame Meg Taylor for Oceania; IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge for Europe; and IOC President Thomas Bach, who presided over the jury.

Jury member Kawase said: “The Olympic Laurel is conferred upon outstanding individuals who help build a better world, using the power of sport to harness change and positivity. You will see that this year’s recipient is internationally recognised for relentless work in the empowerment and upliftment of disadvantaged sections of society.”

Born in 1940 in the seaport city of Chittagong, Professor Yunus studied at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, then received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University. He received his PhD in economics in 1969 and joined Middle Tennessee State University, where he taught until he returned to Bangladesh in 1972.

Professor Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavours and is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, which pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance for people living in poverty.

The first ever Olympic Laurel was awarded to the Kenyan Olympian and social changemaker Kip Keino on 5 August 2016, during the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro.

Initiated for Rio 2016, the Olympic Laurel is to be awarded at the opening ceremony of each summer edition of the Olympic Games. Symbolising the connection with the ancient Olympic Games, the base of the trophy is a replica of a stone from the site of Olympia, Greece. The creation of the Olympic Laurel was one of the initiatives that emerged from recommendation 26 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, to further strengthen the blending of sport and culture.

###

The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.

###

For more information, please contact Tina Sharma or the IOC Media Relations Team, or visit our web site at www.ioc.org.

Broadcast quality footage

The IOC Newsroom: http://iocnewsroom.com/

Videos

YouTube: www.youtube.com/iocmedia

Photos

For an extensive selection of photos available shortly after each event, please follow us on Flickr.

To request archive photos and footage, please contact our Images team at: images@olympic.org.

Social media

For up-to-the-minute information on the IOC and regular updates, please follow us on Twitter and YouTube.

As a service to our readers, Around the Rings will provide verbatim texts of selected press releases issued by Olympic-related organizations, federations, businesses and sponsors.

These press releases appear as sent to Around the Rings and are not edited for spelling, grammar or punctuation.

Recent Articles

Andrew Parsons faces no challengers for a second term as president of the International Paralympic Committee

Duane Kale primed to be re-elected unopposed as vice president, but there is plenty of competition for the 10 member at large positions on the governing board.

IOC confirms Jorge Delgado, Ecuador’s sports hero, as new president of the National Olympic Committee after unprecedentedly close elections

The EOC incumbent was fourth in the 200 butterfly won by Mark Spitz at the 1972 Munich Olympics and emerged victorious in an election that ended 37-37. A controversial tie-breaking vote had to be used.

Utah’s Olympic venues an integral part of the equation as Salt Lake City seeks a Winter Games encore

Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation chief of sport development Luke Bodensteiner says there is a “real urgency to make this happen in 2030”. He discusses the mission of the non-profit organization, the legacy from the 2002 Winter Games and future ambitions.

El COI confirma a Jorge Delgado, héroe deportivo de Ecuador, como nuevo presidente del Comité Olímpico Nacional tras unas inéditas reñidas elecciones

El titular del COE fue cuarto en los 200 mariposa que ganó Mark Spitz en los Juegos Olímpicos de Munich 1972 y salió airoso en unos comicios que terminaron 37-37. Hubo que recurrir a un polémico voto de desempate.

IOC Executive Board ready to meet in Greece for the first time in 17 years

The in-person meeting next month will be followed by a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the EB, the ruling body of the IOC.