On this visit to Italy Professor Yunus formally opened the 51st Yunus Social Business Center (YSBC) at the University of Bologna. The University of Bologna, founded seven hundred years ago, is one of the oldest universities in the world and a leading academic institution in Italy and in Europe. Professor Yunus later delivered a Master Lecture at the Business School of the University. He also met former Premier of Italy, Mr Romano Prodi during his visit to the university. Through the YSBC, which is a research and academic hub for social business, University of Bologna will undertake teaching, knowledge-sharing, and other action programmes to mitigate pervasive global social problems.
Earlier during his visit to Italy Professor Yunus was invited to an official lunch with the Minister of Economic Development of the Italian State (region) of Basilicata, Hon. Cifarelli. The minister sought Professor Yunus’ advice to launch a social business fund for the region of Basilicata.
Professor Yunus visited the Social Business City of Pistoia, the city decided to become a “Social Business City” five years back, where he delivered a talk titled ‘“Be job givers, not job seekers”. Some newly incubated social businesses that started in Pistoia by the Social Business Lab of the city presented their businesses to Professor Yunus. He also distributed prizes among the winners of a Social Business Plan Competition titled “Youth and Social Business Program”. The competition was held among the high-school students of the city of Pistoia. This is to be noted, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus holds honorary citizenships of both cities, City of Pistoia and City of Bologna of Italy.
Professor Yunus also attended a dinner with the Mayor of Florence.Professor Yunus attended a launching event of UBS-Grameen Italia, a foundation in Italy promoting social business and microfinance. Professor Yunus also visited the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF), founded by famous Italian singer and songwriter Mr Andrea Bocelli and his family. Professor Yunus sits on the board of the foundation. He spoke to Mr Bocelli during his visit. The foundation is working all around the world to tackle different social problems such as poverty and illiteracy.