STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Economist Muhammad Yunus accepted the Nobel Peace Prize
on Sunday for his breakthrough program to lift the poor through tiny loans,
saying he hoped the award would inspire "bold initiatives" to eradicate a
problem at the root of terrorism.
Yunus, a 66-year-old
Bangladeshi, shared the award with his Grameen Bank, which for more than two
decades has helped impoverished people start businesses by providing small,
usually unsecured loans known as microcredit.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, right, receives his
medal and diploma from Nobel Committee Chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes at City
Hall in Oslo, Norway Sunday Dec. 10, 2006. Yunus said he hoped the award
would inspire 'bold initiatives' to fight poverty and eradicate the root
causes of terrorism. [AP]
"We must address the root causes of terrorism to end it for all time," Yunus
told hundreds of guests at City Hall in Oslo, Norway. "I believe putting
resources into improving the lives of poor people is a better strategy than
spending it on guns."
In his speech, Yunus also warned about the potential costs of globalization
without help for the world's poor.
"To me, globalization is like a hundred-lane highway crisscrossing the
world," Yunus said. "If it is a free-for-all highway, its lanes will be taken
over by the giant trucks from powerful economies. Bangladeshi rickshaws will be
thrown off the highway."
"Rule of 'strongest takes it all' must be replaced by rules that ensure that
the poorest have a place and piece of the action, without being elbowed out by
the strong," he said.
The Nobel laureates for literature, physics, economics and chemistry accepted
their awards Sunday at a ceremony in Stockholm.
The Nobel Prizes, announced in October, are always presented in the two
Scandinavian capitals on Dec. 10 to mark the anniversary of the 1896 death of
their creator, Alfred Nobel. The Swedish industrialist, who invented dynamite,
stipulated the dual ceremonies in his will. The awards, first handed out in
1901, carry $1.4 million in prize money.
The literature prize went to Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish writer accused of
insulting his country, while six Americans swept the science and economics
prizes. Their findings cemented the "big bang" theory, broke new ground in
genetic research and explored the relationship between inflation and
Yunus is the first Nobel winner from Bangladesh, an impoverished South Asian
country on the Bay of Bengal. Nobel Committee chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said
the award was partially intended as an outstretched hand to the Islamic world in
an era when Muslims are often demonized because of terrorism.