Friday, October 13, 2006

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded for effective social change

By Nancy Jane Moore

I'm very pleased to see that the Nobel Peace Prize committee has recognized Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his micro-lending organization, Grameen Bank.

The Grameen system of small loans -- most of them made to women -- is helping to break the vicious cycle of poverty. It's been copied worldwide. And of course, they don't just loan money -- they provide support. They whole system is based on sound principles.

I'm particularly gratified that this program is primarily aimed at women -- 97 percent of the borrowers are women. And as someone who spent years helping tenants become homeowners by buying their apartment buildings and converting them into cooperatives, I firmly believe that programs offering people a chance to develop themselves are the most effective form of social change.

But this year's peace prize is, essentially, an award for positive social change. And while I agree with the Nobel committee that programs such as Grameen's will lead to increased peace and a better world -- and am happy to see them recognized -- I can't help but notice how much violent conflict is now raging throughout the world.

Unfortunately, I don't see anyone doing much to resolve the current violence, and I gather that the Nobel committee couldn't find anyone either.

No comments: