Deborah Hunt, PhD '12, dean of the College of Nursing and Public Health, and Professor Muhammad Yunus at Adelphi University, Garden City, New York. Photo credit: Claudio Papapietro

What began in January 2023 as a visit by the Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health Dean Deborah Hunt, PhD ’12, to Mohammad Yunus in Bangladesh has since led to a lecture by the Nobel Prize laureate on March 21 on the Adelphi campus—and now to a nursing school partnership agreement.

Under their memorandum of understanding, Dean Hunt and Professor Yunus said that they are planning a collaboration between the Adelphi College of Nursing and Public Health and the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing (GCCN), which he founded in 2011 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University, London. (Since 2011, GCCN enrollment has grown significantly to more than 500 students.)

The two institutions have agreed to explore exchanging faculty members and staff, sharing academic materials, offering faculty development and jointly participating in seminars.

Dean Hunt said, “Today’s event signifies a new beginning for Adelphi University and the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing. I believe all the stars aligned, especially when I think back to Adelphi’s 125th Gala less than a year ago, when I first learned about this amazing opportunity to partner with Professor Yunus. I am grateful the seed was planted then and am looking forward to seeing where the journey takes us.”

Yunus said, “This is how it is done—you take a tiny seed and see if it will grow into a big thing. I didn’t expect dreams to come true so fast, but here I am—at Adelphi, holding our agreement, signed and sealed.”

In January, Dean Hunt and Ani Jacob, DNP, clinical assistant professor, visited Bangladesh on a weeklong fact-finding mission to determine potential areas of collaboration.

In welcoming Yunus to Adelphi, President Christine M. Riordan said, “I am excited about the possibilities of our partnership, and so pleased to work with someone as extraordinary as Professor Yunus.”

What Are “the Three Zeros’’?

The renowned Nobel laureate and Bangladeshi social entrepreneur brought his inspiring message of “Creating a World of Three Zeros” to Adelphi for his Robert B. Willumstad School of Business lecture, sponsored by Adelphi’s Hagedorn Lectureship on Corporate Social Responsibility.

As he explained to his Adelphi audience, “We must create a world with zero unemployment, zero wealth concentration and zero net carbon emissions.”

Christopher Storm, PhD, Adelphi provost and executive vice president, in introducing him, said, “Adelphi has a legacy of promoting connection and transformation, and a commitment to furthering ideas and actions that make the world a better place for all people. Professor Muhammad Yunus is a true example of living these values.”

Considered the father of the microfinance movement, Yunus also founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983 by lending small amounts of money to people in need. He said, “Imagine millions of the poorest, illiterate women in Bangladesh taking tiny loans and transforming themselves into entrepreneurs. Everyone has this ability in them. They just need the way.” Grameen, Yunus explained, means “rural” in Bangladeshi.

Today, Grameen Bank has more than 10 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women. The bank boasts a 98 percent repayment rate.

Yunus, in his discussion with Dean Hunt, urged the audience of Adelphi students, faculty, staff and friends to share his deep belief that everyone can play a part in eradicating poverty.

He said, “The system we have now is based on the wrong premise. It is a poverty-creating machine. We must get away from fundamentally chasing money and wealth.”

The Nobel laureate left his audience with his belief that every person is born an entrepreneur, and that every person can take small steps to change the world. He said, “You have to flip the script and abandon the idea of maximizing wealth. Remember your human values and follow them. Then we will change the future for the better.”

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