09/14/2019, 09.00
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The Bengali Muhammad Yunus awarded "Lamp of Peace of St. Francis"

The economist, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2006, is the creator of the micro-credit that provides loans to poor entrepreneurs. The conferment is assigned by the friars to political, cultural and civil society personalities who have distinguished themselves for their commitment in favoring peace, dialogue and acceptance.

Dhaka (AsiaNews-Agencies) - The Franciscan friars of Assisi have conferred the prize "Lamp of peace of St. Francis" on the Bengali economist and banker Muhammad Yunus.

The award is given each year by the Franciscan fathers of the Sacred Convent to political, cultural and civil society personalities who have distinguished themselves for their commitment to foster peace, dialogue and acceptance. Before him, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Mikhail Gorbachev have been honoured.

The award was given last week in the basilica dedicated to the saint of Assisi, in the context of "Percorsi Assisi", a training school in inter-university economics born out of a collaboration between the friars and the Italian institutes of higher education. The school supports the vision of Pope Francis and re-launches its appeals to foster a new just, fraternal and sustainable economy.

Yunus, 79, is the creator and creator of modern micro-credit: it consists of a system of small loans intended for poor entrepreneurs who are unable to obtain financing from traditional banking circuits. For his efforts in this field, in 2006 he also won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Lamp was awarded for the first time in 1981 to the Polish Lech Walesa, founder of Solidarnosc, the first independent trade union organization of the Soviet bloc. It represents the simplicity of the Franciscan message: the glass container recalls purity, while the burning oil is a symbol of humility and desire for rebirth both in faith and in social commitment. It is a replica of the oil lamp positioned next to the tomb of St. Francis.

Receiving the award, Yunus confided concern about "three challenges that endanger the human being on this planet: the extreme concentration of wealth on an ongoing basis, the rapid environmental degradation and the growth of artificial intelligence". At the end of the ceremony, the professor gave a lectio magistralis on the subject of circular economy and micro-credit.

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