Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. In 2006, 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". The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that "lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty" and that "across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development". Yunus has received several other national and international honours. He received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.
George Bernard Shaw , known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist, and political activist who held both Irish and British citizenship. His influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays, including major works such as Man and Superman , Pygmalion and Saint Joan . With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation, and in 1925 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Junot Díaz is a Dominican American writer, creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology , and fiction editor at Boston Review. He also serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Georgia that provides post-secondary instruction to undocumented immigrants. Central to Díaz's work is the immigrant experience. He received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. He is a 2012 MacArthur Fellow.
Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience. Born in Chislehurst, England, he moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master's degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest in 1945, then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.