A Panel Discussion & Conversation with Professor Muhammad Yunus
On Saturday, May 10th, 2014, the Tunis office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of the Grameen Bank and Nobel Prize Laureate, for an in-depth conversation as part of a program on “Social Business & National Harmony: A Solution From Within?”
The event began with introductory remarks by Hassan Mneimneh, GMF Senior Transatlantic Fellow, on two parallel transitions—a local one from a paternalistic state with its false promise of ample services in exchange for political acquiescence, to a state based on the political and economic initiative of the citizen; and a global one in which the reliance of the state on the financial backing and bailout from the international community is no longer possible. The panel discussion covered the implications of the new realities, while surveying social entrepreneurship and other means towards a sound development policy in Tunisia in its transition to democracy.
The panel discussion included contributions from H.E. Hafedh Laamouri, Minister of Employment & Vocational Training (represented by Ms Amina Arifa), Douja Gharbi, Vice-President of the Confédération des Entreprises citoyennes de Tunisie, an association of Tunisian entrepreneurs, and Sana Ghenima, Entrepreneur and CEO of Sanabil MED, a digital publishing house, and was moderated by Ridha Kazdaghli, the Director General of IFEDA, a government sponsor resource center and incubator of civil society organizations.
The discussion was followed by a conversation with Professor Yunus about his social business model as one alternative responsive to both entrepreneurial and philantropic impulses in a social context, and on the prospects of the integration of such a model into Tunisian practice. Hassan Mneimneh moderated the conversation which was attended by over 60 participants, representing NGOs, CSOs, embassy officials, and social entrepreneurs.