Microfinance Focus, February 11, 2011: The “Friends of Grameen” initiative was launched today. The purpose of the association will be the promotion and development of microcredit and social business, in particular the microcredit activities of Grameen Bank and its affiliates. The organization will be registered in France, at the headquarters of ADIE, a French Grameen Model based- microfinance institution created in 1989.
One of the priorities is also to support the independence of Grameen Bank and its founder Professor Yunus, who together awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, as they have been the target of an ongoing pressure campaign of rumors and misleading information, said the official release.
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will chair the “Friends of Grameen” Honorary Committee.
This committee also includes prominent figures such as Jagdish Sharan Verma, former Chief Justice of India, and former Chair of the National Human Rights Commission of India; James D. Wolfensohn, Chairman and CEO of Wolfensohn Fund Management, L.P. and former President of World Bank; William Drayton, Founder and current Chair of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, and Dr Kamal Hossain, Head of Kamal Hossain & Associates, one of the most reputable law firms in Bangladesh.
“Our organization will get to work quickly”, said Maria Nowak, Head of the “Friends of Grameen” Executive Committee, and President of ADIE, a pioneering French microfinance institution created in 1989. She added: “As the world looks at Bangladesh as a pioneer and role model in the field of microcredit, the priority of Friends of Grameen will be to continue to advocate that Grameen bank should remain an autonomous entity, owned by borrowers, and should continue to benefit from the guidance of its founder, friendly political and legal support of the Government, as a significant stakeholder.”