Rallying Cries for Yunus Open Skoll World Forum 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Outrage at the campaign being waged against Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus burst to the top of the agenda at the opening ceremony of this year’s Skoll World Forum on social entrepreneurship.
eBay’s former president Jeff Skoll, the forum’s founder, drew loud applause as he stepped away from the theme of his opening speech – around collaboration – to commit his support to Yunus.
Skoll said Yunus, one of the founding fathers of microcredit, stood to be removed from his post leading Grameen Bank in a campaign being waged by the Bangladesh government.
’We at the Skoll Foundation stand firmly behind Yunus and offer our unequivocal support,’ Skoll said.
In a later discussion around microfinance, Roshaneh Zafar, managing director of Pakistan’s Kashf Foundation, also departed from the script to rally support for Yunus.
’I personally am outraged by what is going on,’ Zafar said. Describing Yunus as ’a beacon for all of us’, she urged the forum’s 800 delegates gathered in the New Theatre in Oxford: ’We need to support him and be behind him. We need to take some action. We need to have a voice behind him at this moment.’
The cries gave a campaigning edge to the first main session of the eighth world forum, which runs from Wednesday to Friday this week.