March 23, 2012
The White House on Friday named Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College and a global health expert, as its nominee to lead the World Bank.
That makes Dr. Kim the front-runner to take the helm of the multinational development institution on June 30, when its current president, Robert B. Zoellick, will step down at the end of his five-year term. Tradition has held that Washington selects the head of the World Bank and Europe the leader of its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, since they were founded during World War II.
Dr. Kim’s name was not among those widely bandied about since Mr. Zoellick announced his plans to move on last month. Highly respected among aid experts, Dr. Kim is an anthropologist and a physician who co-founded Partners in Health, a nonprofit that provides health care for the poor, and a former director of the department of H.I.V./AIDS at the World Health Organization.
“The leader of the World Bank should have a deep understanding of both the role that development plays in the world and the importance of creating conditions where assistance is no longer needed,” President Obama said Friday. “It’s time for a development professional to lead the world’s largest development agency.”
In a statement, Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary and an alumnus of Dartmouth, praised Dr. Kim: “Development is his lifetime commitment, and it is his passion. And in a world with so much potential to improve living standards, we have a unique opportunity to harness that passion and experience at the helm of the World Bank.”
Dr. Kim, who was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2003, was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1959 and moved with his family to the United States when he was 5. He graduated from Brown University in 1982, earned an M.D. from Harvard University in 1991 and received a Ph.D. in anthropology there in 1993.
He was the first Asian-American to head an Ivy League institution when he took the Dartmouth post in 2009.
While working with Partners in Health in Lima, Peru, in the mid-1990s, Dr. Kim helped to develop a treatment program for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the first large-scale treatment of that disease in a poor country. Treatment programs for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are now in place in more than 40 nations, according to Dr. Kim’s biography on Dartmouth’s Web site. He also spearheaded the successful effort to reduce the price of the drugs used to treat this form of tuberculosis.
“Jim is all about delivery and about delivering on promises often made but too seldom kept,” said Paul Farmer, a co-founder of Partners in Health, in an e-mailed statement. “I can think of no one more able to help families, communities and entire nations break out of poverty.”
During his short tenure at Dartmouth, Dr. Kim won a reputation as a level-headed technocrat who frequently encouraged students to think globally.
“Most every college president has to get up and say it’s important to go off and change the world,” said Jonathan S. Skinner, an economist at Dartmouth. “But there aren’t many college presidents who’ve gone out and have changed the world.”
Dr. Kim’s ascension to the head of the World Bank is not a sure thing. But the United States supported the candidacy of Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister, to head the International Monetary Fund last year, presumably assuring that Europe would support Dr. Kim’s nomination.
In recent years, major emerging economies have criticized the decades-old gentlemen’s agreement giving the United States control of the World Bank’s presidency. The Group of 20 countries has called for a fairer, more transparent selection process for the top posts at the World Bank and the I.M.F., and the World Bank itself has reaffirmed its commitment to an open and merit-based process.
“We are trying to ensure that we start having a process whereby we can choose the most qualified person, regardless of nationality,” said Amar Bhattacharya, the director of the Group of 24, an umbrella group of developing countries. “The struggle is about the credibility of the process as much as it is about who wins.”
Dr. Kim, as an American, will not escape some of that criticism. But his background working in poorer countries may partially insulate him, and Mr. Obama was reportedly drawn to him in part because of his work fighting tuberculosis and AIDS.
In addition, powerful emerging market countries, like Brazil and China, failed to rally around a single, viable candidate since the announcement of Mr. Zoellick’s departure.
Dr. Kim is not the only candidate for the World Bank job. On Friday, Angola, South Africa and Nigeria put forward Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister and former World Bank official.
José Antonio Ocampo, the former finance minister of Colombia and a United Nations official, is rumored to be another candidate.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, the development economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, had put himself forward for the position and won the support of some developing countries, including Kenya, although the United States was not supporting his candidacy. On Friday, Mr. Sachs withdrew his candidacy and endorsed Dr. Kim.
“Dr. Jim Kim is a superb nominee for the World Bank presidency,” Mr. Sachs said in an e-mailed statement. “I congratulate the administration for nominating a world-class development leader for this position.”
The World Bank will stop accepting nominations at 6 p.m. Eastern time Friday. If there are more than three candidates, the board will name a short list soon thereafter. The bank has said it intends to select its new president in the time for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund spring meetings in April.
The bank provided $57.4 billion in support to low-income and middle-income countries last year. Under Mr. Zoellick’s leadership, the bank raised an additional $90 billion for its fund for the world’s poorest. It also opened up huge troves of data to the public to aid research on development and poverty.
Jim Yong Kim was born on December 8th, 1959 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Yong_Kim
December 8th, 1959
12 + 8 +1+9+5+9 = 44 = his life lesson = Having his finger on the pulse of what’s happening.
comprehensive summary and list of predictions for 2012:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson: