WASHINGTON — The Congressional Gold Medal was presented to Professor Muhammad Yunus today during a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. The medal, designed and struck by the United States Mint, recognizes and honors Professor Yunus’s extraordinary contributions to the fight against global poverty and the effort to promote economic and social change.
Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of the concept of making small “microcredit” loans to the very poor and the founder of Grameen Bank, which pioneered his microcredit concept. The model developed by Grameen Bank has been emulated across the world. Yunus’s work has had a particularly strong impact on women and their families, as more than 95 percent of microcredit borrowers are women. Professor Yunus is also a recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize and the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The medal’s obverse (heads side) was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Phebe Hemphill. The design features a portrait of Professor Yunus with the traditional Bengali jamdani fabric design, reflecting his optimistic and cheerful demeanor. Jamdani is a Bangladeshi hand–woven fabric made of cotton, historically referred to as muslin. Inscriptions on the medal are PROFESSOR MUHAMMAD YUNUS, ACT OF CONGRESS, and 2010.
The medal’s reverse (tails side) was designed by United States Mint AIP Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Jim Licaretz. The design depicts a lotus open in full bloom, rising above the water and cradling the world in its petals, symbolizing Professor Yunus’s dream to end world poverty. The design is partially framed by the inscription BANKER TO THE POOR, a common reference to Yunus. The Bengali translation for “Let us send poverty to the museum” is inscribed on the globe.
Public Law 111– 253, which required the United States Mint to strike the Congressional Gold Medal for Professor Yunus, also authorizes the bureau to strike and sell three–inch (product code 934) and 1½–inch (product code 935) bronze reproductions of the medal. These medals became available for purchase at noon Eastern Time today, at the bureau’s online catalog, http://www.usmint.gov/catalog. Orders will also be accepted at 1–800–USA–MINT (872–6468). Hearing– and speech–impaired customers with TTY equipment may call 1–888–321–MINT (6468). The three–inch medals are priced at $39.95 each, and the 1½–inch medals are priced at $6.95 each.
The United States Mint was created by Congress in 1792. It became part of the Department of the Treasury in 1873. It is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces numismatic products, including proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver and gold bullion coins. The United States Mint’s numismatic programs are self–sustaining and operate at no cost to the taxpayer.