Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus Speaks of Small Miracles, Momentous Results

On the first anniversary of receiving his award, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus spoke passionately on what he has tirelessly championed this past year - starting small to allow dramatically momentous ideas to blossom. Known as the grandfather of the microcredit and a revolutionary in the structure of rural economic and social development, Dr. Yunus is founder of Grameen Bank and was at New York City's Harmonie Club on Oct. 11 to speak about Sing for Hope and the launch of Grameen America.

On the eve of this year's Nobel Peace Prize announcements, I jokingly asked Dr. Yunus if he knew who might win (nice to wake up to news that it is Al Gore and the U.N. Panel on Climate Change!!!) But the night's message was primarily about maximizing one's talents to improve current social and economic climates in crisis. In particular, the extraordinary vocal musicians involved with Sing for Hope, a charity that empowers artists to utilize their unique talents for humanitarian causes, inspired those in attendance. The delightfully dazzling vocals of the group's founding director Camille Zamora and co-director Monica Yunus (and proud daughter of Dr. Yunus) proved that those blessed with great talent often have even greater hearts. And as evidenced by one audience member who pledged to match the night's donations up to $100,000, being entertained by both opera and Broadway singers at the height of their careers would inspire anyone to give give give!

Bonus: Talking political action with Sing for Hope Board member Beverly Cooper Neufeld, a jewel of a NYC woman making a difference. A real powerhouse, she kindly introduced me to everyone from Broadway producers to philanthropists extraordinaire. And to be entertained by singers of such quality in such an intimate space was just perfection. Thank you New York City and especially to my friend Tony Kalm, for helping to make this possible!

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