Breaking: World Bank selects Dr. Jim Kim as next president

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Jim Yong Kim MD, PhD (Photo Courtesy: National Institutes of Health)

The Executive Directors of the World Bank met in Washington, DC, Monday – and announced their selection of Jim Kim, MD, PhD, as the 12th president of the poverty-reduction organization. Kim’s five-year term will start on July 1, when he succeeds current president Robert Zoellick.

According to a press release on the World Bank website, the 25-member board of executive directors followed a new selection process agreed to in 2011 that resulted in multiple nominees for the job – the first time that has happened in the Bank’s history – to include Kim, United Nations official and former Columbian banker José Antonio Ocampo, and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “This process included an open nomination where any national of the Bank’s membership could be proposed by any Executive Director or Governor, publication of the names of the candidates, interviews of the candidates by the Executive Directors, and final selection of the President,” the release states.

Kim, 52, has served Dartmouth College president since 2009 but is known for his humanitarian work particularly in the fields of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB). After considering a dozen candidates for the position, President Obama endorsed Kim in late March, much to the delight of global and domestic HIV/AIDS and TB advocates.

“Jim has spent more than two decades working to improve conditions in developing countries around the world,” President Obama said at an event in the Rose Garden. “The World Bank is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce poverty and raise standards of living around the globe, and Jim’s personal experience and years of service make him an ideal candidate for this job.”

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim has lived in the United States since he was five years old. He received his medical degree from Harvard University School of Medicine and a doctorate in anthropology from Harvard as well. During his time serving as director of the World Health Organization’s Department of HIV/AIDS, Kim spearheaded the 3 x 5 Initiative, “which sought to treat 3 million patients living with HIV and is regarded today as one of the most successful modern global health initiatives,” according to a White House statement. Kim also founded the Partners in Health, an organization that works to provide health care to poor people in countries around the world. 

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