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Keynote Speakers

Professor Muhammad Yunus

International anti-poverty campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Yunus is the founder of the Grameen Bank, a global movement dedicated to eradicating poverty through microlending to those with the very least in society, and he is an inspiration to young people around the world to devote themselves to social causes. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below". A recipient of 115 awards from 26 countries, Professor Yunus is one of only seven people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the US’s highest civilian honour) and the Congressional Gold Medal. Professor Yunus was installed as Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University in October 2012 and remains a lifelong friend to the University as Emeritus Chancellor.

Dr Caroline Hossein
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Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein is Associate Professor of Global Development at the University of Toronto and cross-appointed to the graduate programme of Political Science at the University of Toronto. She is Founder of Diverse Solidarity Economies (DiSE) Collective pushing for equitable economies. She holds an Ontario Early Researcher Award (2018-2023) and her project “African origins in the Social Economy” was previously funded by SSHRC (2017-2020). Dr. Hossein is a board member to the International Association of Feminist Economics, advisor to Oxford University Press, editorial board member to the U.N. Task Force for the Social and Solidarity Economy and Kerala University’s Journal ‘Polity & Society’. Dr. Hossein is the author of ‘Politicized Microfinance’ (2016), co-author of ‘Critical Introduction to Business and Society’ (2017); editor of ‘The Black Social Economy’ (2018), and co-editor of ‘Community Economies in the Global South’ (2022). Her forthcoming books are ‘Beyond Racial Capitalism: Cooperatives in the African Diaspora’ by Oxford University Press and ‘The Banker Ladies’ by the University of Toronto Press. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked for 9 years in a number of global non-profits and as a self-employed consultant to the World Bank Group, UNDP, USAID, IRC, CIDA, IADB, and the Aga Khan Foundation. You can follow her on Twitter @carolinehossein

Professor Robert Lensink


Robert Lensink ( is a  development economist, with specific  research interests covering  Gender Studies, Impact Analyses, Microfinance, and Rural Development. He is Professor of Finance at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), University of Groningen (UG), and a “Professor Extraordinary” at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.  He is currently the vice-dean research at FEB, UG. Robert has a wide international network. He is External Research Fellow SOAS (University of London), Associate Researcher Centre for European Research in Microfinance (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Resource Person for the African Economic Research Consortium, full member of the European Development Research Network, and a member of the steering committee of NWO/WOTRO. Robert has published more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Economics journals like American Economic review, Economic Journal, Journal of Development Economics and Journal of Public Economics, Psychology Journals, like British Journal of Social Psychology and Frontiers of Psychology, and multidisciplinary journals like World Development. He has authored 4 books, edited 4 books, and published more than 30 book chapters (see

Professor Mario Small

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Mario L. Small, Ph.D., is Quetelet Professor of Social Science at Columbia University. A University of Bremen Excellence Chair, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the Sociological Research Association, Small has published award-winning articles and books on urban inequality, personal networks, and the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods. His books include Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio and Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life, both of which received the C. Wright Mills Award for Best Book. His latest book, Someone To Talk To: How Networks Matter in Practice, recipient of the James Coleman Best Book Award among other honors, examines how people decide whom in their network to turn to when seeking a confidant. Small is currently studying the relationship between networks and decision-making, the ability of large-scale data to answer critical questions about urban inequality, and the relation between qualitative and quantitative methods. 

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