Nobel Peace prize-winner and global anti-poverty campaigner, Professor Mohammad Yunus, has been installed as chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), an official announcement by Yunus Center in Dhaka said.
The formal installation ceremony in the University’s Saltire Centre was preceded by a colourful procession through the city centre campus, with the new chancellor and members of the University Court and senior staff dressed in their academic robes and accompanied by the Bedellus carrying GCU’s ceremonial mace.
The ceremony was attended by members of staff, students and invited guests, including representatives from other UK and international universities, national and local government, the arts, academia, business and charitable supporters. The installation was also an emotional family occasion for Yunus with his daughter Monica, an international opera star based in New York, performing during the event accompanied by musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Although the role of chancellor is largely a ceremonial one, Yunus already has a strong working relationship with the university through the recently-launched Grameen Scotland Foundation, which will oversee the running of the first Grameen micro-lending system in the UK, the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health in Glasgow, and the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh.
The university’s new chancellor has been honoured worldwide, including receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, for his pioneering work with the Grameen Bank which he established in his native Bangladesh in the 1980s and which has since helped lift millions of people out of poverty through its micro-lending system targeted at the least well-off in society.
Friday’s installation ceremony included addresses by Scotland’s cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning, Mike Russell MSP, GCU principal and vice-chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies and student president Carla Fyfe.
Yunus, who was formally installed as chancellor by the chair of the University Court, Antony Brian, also spoke eloquently about the “common good” mission he shares with the university and pledged his inspirational leadership to further GCU’s work in the community at home and abroad.
University principal and vice-chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies said: “This has been a historic day for Glasgow Caledonian University. The appointment of Yunus, who is a world thought leader in social business and a global anti-poverty campaigner, underlines not only our enduring commitment to the common good, but our status as a globally networked institution.
“I believe with Chancellor Yunus as our figurehead we will continue to grow as an institution and deliver real benefits for our students and the communities we work for in Scotland and overseas. I am incredibly excited and honoured to serve as his vice- chancellor.”
Yunus said he was particularly pleased to be working once again with young people: “Being installed as chancellor is a very happy occasion for me. As a teacher and then as founder of the Grameen Bank, I have always worked alongside young people. Because of this, I feel I have an easy connection with them. As chancellor, I will share my experiences and make them see there’s nothing unusual in what I do – and that they can do that too.” (The Gulf Times)