Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus says Atlanta peace summit will take place

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta will host a Summit for Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in November, according to a press release written on behalf of Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

Yunus was instrumental in Atlanta winning the rights to host the event, to take place Nov. 15 to 19, from the Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The key organizer of the Summit has been Mohammad Bhuiyan, CEO of Yunus Creative Labs.

But last month, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told the Secretariat it was withdrawing its support for the Summit because of an inability to come to terms with Bhuiyan on the governance and the event planning for the Summit.

Mayor Reed Rotary

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed address Rotary Club on April 6. Mohammad Bhuiyan is in the audience. (Photo by David Luse)

Last week, the mayor said he would be open to Atlanta supporting the Summit as long as Bhuiyan was not in charge of the event.

Yunus, however, appears to be standing beside Bhuiyan in what has become a tension-filled drama over the hosting of what is supposed to be an event that promotes world peace.

“This will be an opportunity to push back all the past differences and move forward with goodwill and unconditional support to the Atlanta Summit,” wrote Professor Yunus to Nobel Secretariat representative Enzo Cursio.

The Atlanta Summit “will not be tarnished by any bad feeling anywhere,” Yunus continued, adding that Bhuiyan and his wife Shamima Amin have worked for the last two years without any pay and with ceremonial titles raising money and organizing the Summit and they do not have any control of the fund.

More than $3 million has been raised, enough to fund the meeting of potentially 30 individuals and 15 organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the past, according to Yunus.

The press release, issued by the Hope-Beckham public relations firm, said that the Summit has issued requests for proposals to hire an event management agency, and that it is also in the process of hiring a professional event manager on staff.

Yunus also informed the Secretariat that Bhuiyan would be representing him at the “working meeting in Rome on May 2 and 3.”

Bhuiyan Yunus Reed

Happier days – Mohammad Bhuiyan, Muhammad Yunus and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (Special from Yunus Creative Lab)

“Let us promise to make it a very successful Summit,” Yunus wrote to Cursio.  “Let this not be tarnished by any bad feeling anywhere.”

But it appears that there is a possibility the Atlanta Summit won’t be sanctioned by the Secretariat. In the letter, Yunus states that even if it is not a formal Summit, he hopes the “Secretariat will come forward to give it full support and will be present at the Summit in full force.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Reed said Monday, after a talk to the Rotary Club of Atlanta where Bhuiyan was present, that a group of local Atlanta leaders will be meeting this week to discuss the Summit.

It is assumed that the local group of leaders are working on an alternative plan to host the Summit.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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