Obama picks college president for World Bank Chief

Nickalas Tabbert

 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.

The move makes 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, the New York Times said.

Kim, 52, 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.

President Obama said Friday in a Daily Star article that Kim's global experience makes him ideally suited to forge partnerships around the world.

"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," Obama said.  "It's time for a development professional to lead the world's largest development agency."

Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury and an alumnus of Dartmouth, praised Kim for his commitment to development.

During his tenure at Dartmouth, Kim won a reputation as a level-headed technocrat who frequently encouraged students to think globally, the Times said.

"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 the school.  "But there aren't many college presidents who've gone out and have changed the world."

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Kim earned a 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, the Times said.

 

(Photo courtesy of Doug Mills/ The New York Times)