You are here

Special collaboration with Nobel Prize winner


PUM expert Akkie Okma recently had a very special performance in Manila in the Philippines. In her role as PUM expert she shared the stage with none other than Professor Muhammad Yunus (winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize).

Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh is the developer and founder of the microcredit. He is also the founder of the Grameen Bank. In 2006, Professor Yunus and this bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to facilitate economic and social developments from the bottom up.

Akkie’s first advisory mission for PUM involved helping the incubator YY Goshti in Dhaka in Bangladesh. YY Goshti offers start-ups a training programme. As an incubator for social enterprises, YY Goshti is closely related to professor and Nobel Prize winner Yunus. Akkie also remained in close contact with YY Goshti as a mentor and advisor after her advisory mission. That is how she also met Professor Yunus.

Social Business Youth Summit

One of YY Goshti’s other activities is organising the Social Business Youth Summits in Asia. The purpose of these meetings is to bring young people together and offer them inspiration to start social enterprises. The main idea behind these social enterprises is that they do not focus on earning money, but on solving problems. In March of this year, incubator YY Goshti organised the sixth meeting in Manila in the Philippines. Akkie: “I was invited to participate in the Bangladesh delegation to give a training on pitching. As a representative of PUM, I was also invited to participate in a panel discussion with Professor Yunus to share my views on mentoring and intergenerational partnerships.

The panel discussion went well. I asked the group if they thought Van Gogh had a mentor. Thanks to the many letters he wrote, we know that even a brilliant painter like Van Gogh - who was so ahead of his time - was accompanied by a few established Dutch painters at the time. They shared new techniques with him, they proposed new subjects for painting, and discussed how to finish unfinished paintings. This approach worked for Van Gogh. My opinion is that mentoring can only be successful if the mentee is given sufficient room for his/her creative autonomy.

Intergenerational partnerships

For me, age is just a number. It is much more important to establish a generative partnership. In generative partnerships, you have conversations that matter. You will have conversations in which ideas expand, and in which alternative options are considered. Moreover, if you are able to act in harmony with those possibilities, you have probably created a partnership that is flourishing.

The summit was a great success: more than 500 attendees from 24 different countries took part. New friends have been made. Among them also new connections with local PUM representatives.

‘If your dream doesn’t scare you, your dream isn’t big enough’

After the discussion, all panel members joined the group photo together with professor and Nobel Prize winner Yunus. There is a saying that ‘if your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough’. Professor Yunus’ dream is to create a world of three zeros: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon dioxide. That’s scary, right?”