WASHINGTON: Recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of the "microcredit" movement, has signed Global Communicators to be his worldwide media relations adviser.
The level of attention focused on Yunus following the announcement has been huge, Global Communicators chairman and CEO Jim Harff said, and has provided a golden opportunity to promote, to a wider audience, the theory and practice of microfinance. Through microcredit, small loans are made to individuals in poverty-stricken places to set up small employment operations, such as selling the use of cell phone service by the minute.
"Before October 13, it was our job to persuade the media to cover the story," Harff said. "After October 13, it became out job to determine priority for who [Yunus] should talk to."
During a recent media tour of the US, Yunus made appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Charlie Rose Show, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. During Yunus' upcoming visit to Norway to receive the Nobel Prize on December 10, he will also attend two major press conferences, conduct interviews with international media, and be the subject of a joint production by CNN and 60 Minutes on microcredit.
Harff said his firm has represented Yunus off and on for the past two years, but that the relationship was formalized following the October 13 announcement that Yunus and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, which Yunus founded in 1982, would be jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Immediately following the announcement by the Nobel Prize committee, about five people were handling PR for him full time. In addition, partner APCO Worldwide helped line up local PR firms in Japan, South Korea, and China to help represent Yunus during his recent speaking tour in Asia.