Photo via New York Times
In a surprise announcement, Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim was nominated to be the next head of the World Bank by President Barack Obama, the White House said today.
“Jim has spent more than two decades working to improve conditions in developing countries around the world,” said President Obama, according to a White House release. “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.”
Kim, who earned a medical degree as well as a doctorate in anthropology from Harvard University, has served as the president of Dartmouth College since 2009 and previously served as the director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department.
“Jim Kim is an inspired and outstanding choice to lead the World Bank based on his years of commitment and leadership to development and particularly health care and AIDS treatment across the world,” said former President Bill Clinton, according to a White House release. “He will be the most experienced development expert to ever take the helm of the World Bank and I compliment President Obama for putting that type of proven commitment to global development at the top of his criteria for choosing the World Bank’s next leader.”
As the world’s largest economy, the United States has the highest number of votes when the nomination is put to a vote on June 30, making Kim the frontrunner for the position.
Tradition dictates that Washington picks the head of the World Bank while Europe chooses the president of the International Monetary Fund, according to the New York Times. The paper noted that Kim was not among the speculative names being discussed in the media and political circles after current World Bank president Robert Zoellick announced his plans to move on last month.
Kim, who immigrated to the United States at the age of 5, was named to Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” list in 2006.
Check out our feature story and Q&A with Dr. Kim from the September 2009 issue of KoreAm.