(BBC News) 13th Oct 2006
Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh and the Grameen Bank have been jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Mr Yunus, an economist, founded the bank, which is one of the pioneers of micro-credit lending schemes for the poor, especially women, in Bangladesh.
Mr Yunus, 66, said he would use the 10m Swedish kronor ($1.35m, £730,000) prize money to "find more innovative ways" to help the poor launch businesses.
He said he was delighted at the news and proud of the bank's achievement.
"I'm very very happy. It's a great honour for us and for Bangladesh. It's a recognition of our work," he told the BBC Bengali service.
"As a Bangladeshi, I'm proud that we have given something to the world. Our work has now been recognised by the whole world. "
The winners were revealed by the Nobel committee chairman, Ole Danbolt Mjoes, in Oslo.
Mr Mjoes said Mr Yunus had shown himself to be a leader who had managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people.
He and the bank were being honoured "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below", Mr Mjoes said.
He said the bank's work in creating opportunities for large numbers of people to get out of poverty created the conditions for sustainable peace.
"Development such as this is useful in human rights and democracy," said Mr Mjoes.
The BBC's Lars Bevanger in Oslo says this year's winner caught most there by surprise.
Many commentators had expected an award to someone involved in peace talks, our correspondent says.
He says in awarding this prize to an economist, the Nobel Committee has again shown itself willing to widen the scope of the prestigious prize.
Mr Yunus set up the bank in 1976 with just $27 from his own pocket. Thirty years on, the bank has 6.6 million borrowers, of which 97% are women, according to the Grameen website.
Mr Yunus is expected to pick up the award and prize money during a ceremony in Oslo in December.
Text: Nobel Peace Prize citation
Here is the official English text of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's citation in awarding the 2006 Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank. (Link here)
Q&A: So what is microfinancing? (Link here)
FAQ on Nobel Peace Prize (Link here)
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates through the years (Link here)
The poor of the world do not ask for pity.
They just need a chance to make something of their lives. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank has more than conclusively proven that teaching someone to fish is much better than donating fish to them.
Yunus and the Grameen Bank is an inspiration to me. I hope that when my life is finally through, I can achieve even a fraction of what they have done for their common folk.
Seductive as the 5 C's may be, bringing smiles to people's faces and helping folks escape the poverty trap somehow seems more worthwhile.
Well, once in a while I should be allowed to have some delusions of granduer.
Cheers and good night,
Tomorrow is another mundane day,
Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan