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MEDIA ADVISORY: Creating a Poverty-Free World Through Information Technology

ATTENTION: Assignment Desks and Technology Reporters

16 April 2002
Contact: Sarah Yang, Media Relations
(510) 643-7741


"Creating a Poverty-Free World Through Information Technology," a public talk by Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer in the movement to provide "micro-loans" to the poor.

The lecture is sponsored by the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the College of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.


4 to 5 p.m., Friday, April 19. The talk will be followed by a half-hour question-and-answer session moderated by A. Richard Newton, dean of the College of Engineering.


Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley


Muhammad Yunus, founder and managing director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, has gained international prominence for developing the concept of micro-loans to help the poor become self-sufficient. He has served on the Global Commission of Women's Health, the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development, and the United Nations Expert Group on Women and Finance.


Yunus was a professor of economics at Chittagong University in Bangladesh when he helped give birth to a revolution in the banking industry. He and his graduate students lent $26 to 42 village women so they could buy basic supplies for their crafts. Two decades later, the Grameen Bank has provided loans to 3.5 million people and served as a model for 125 similar lending programs around the world.

Yunus will discuss the role information technology plays in helping people escape the clutches of poverty. "Information Technology is the best friend the poor can get," said Yunus, who will describe how satellite phones transformed a farming village in Bangladesh.

"We are thrilled to be hosting Muhammad," said Ruzena Bajcsy, director of CITRIS at UC Berkeley. "His emphasis on work that has social impact embodies the spirit of CITRIS. We see technology as a means of transforming lives in a meaningful and positive way."