Nobel Laureate, economist and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus is in New York the week of September 18th because it’s UN Week, and as one of the most respected men in the world, he has a message to deliver. We are honored that he has chosen to share his mission with Care2 members.
One of the most important weeks for the international development community is just around the corner — the opening of the 66th United Nations General Assembly. Beginning September 19, world leaders will gather in New York City to discuss the full spectrum of global issues, from climate change to the famine in Somalia. This year there is also a special focus on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, which are a leading cause of mortality in the world today. This gathering of world leaders will be a powerhouse of strategic, solutions-oriented thinking, but they cannot solve the world’s toughest challenges without the help of supporters — everyday, ordinary people like you and me — from around the world.
The UN has a proven track record of encouraging and fostering grassroots engagement to solving global problems. During this seminal week in New York City, I hope individuals will consider ways they can personally get involved in the important work of the UN — whether it’s as a volunteer, donor, or simply by staying informed and spreading the word through their networks. As a Board Member of the United Nations Foundation, I have had the opportunity to see the lasting impact of global grassroots engagement. I have been particularly inspired by the dedication of youth advocates, who work relentlessly to tackle the root causes of some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Millennium Development Goals
The Millennial Generation represents a powerful bloc for good that has grown up knowing the power of instantaneous communication, which has allowed unlimited access to knowledge and, with this power, unbridled ambition to affect positive change in the world. This generation observes the shrinking distance between the possible and impossible, which empowers them to think big. We need big thinkers to work toward innovative solutions for the key issues world leaders will discuss at this year’s General Assembly.
We all recognize that we must work together to register real, lasting progress on the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) and it will take great thinkers from all walks of life to achieve these successful milestone in international development. My experience at the Grameen Bank taught me that every person can make a difference. Change starts by creating a seed of change, however small, and planting that seed a million times. Anyone can dedicate their time, energy, or money to help the UN achieve the MDGs. The UN plays a unique role in the world, but no single body is capable of affecting change everywhere, all the time. People at the grassroots level must join the UN in leading the charge for development and positive change everywhere.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank and a member of the UN Foundation’s Board of Directors.