Photo: IvyGate via @FelixSalmon
Jim Yong Kim will be President Obama’s nominee to head the World Bank, according to a Bloomberg headline.AP sources are confirming that story (h/t @LemaSebathchani).
He’s a Korean-American physician, and currently the President of Dartmouth College.
According to his Dartmouth bio, Kim has spent over 20 years working in public health, notably as the Director of the World Health organisation’s HIV/AIDS department and the co-founder of Partners in Health (PIH).
He was born in Seoul, Korea, and immigrated to Muscatine, Iowa, at the age of five. From there, he attended Brown as an undergraduate and then went to Harvard for medical school and to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology.
This announcement is unexpected, as Kim had not been named—much less as a frontrunner—by the vast majority of economists and journalists who have been chattering about the issue. Some initial surprise from Twitter:
Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head World Bank–wasn’t on my short list.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) March 23, 2012
— felix salmon (@felixsalmon) March 23, 2012
Jim Kim is a superb nominee for WB. I support him 100%. I thank all who supported me and know they’ll be very pleased with today’s news
— Jeffrey D. Sachs (@JeffDSachs) March 23, 2012
A little more on his public health experience from his bio:
Through his work with PIH and WHO, President Kim has helped to demonstrate that individuals previously viewed as untreatable can be treated effectively, even in impoverished settings. He led the 3 by 5 initiative at WHO, which sought to treat 3 million new HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries with antiretroviral drugs by 2005. Launched in September 2003, the ambitious program ultimately reached its goal in 2007. While working with PIH in Lima, Peru, in the mid-1990s, President Kim helped to develop a treatment program for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), which represented the first large-scale treatment of this disease in a poor country. Today, treatment programs for MDR-TB are in place in more than 40 nations. President Kim also spearheaded the successful effort to reduce the price of the drugs used to treat this form of tuberculosis.
A former executive director of PIH, President Kim continues to serve on its board. The Boston-based nonprofit partners with impoverished communities in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, and the United States to provide medical care and social services. He and Dr. Paul Farmer founded PIH with other colleagues in 1987 while the two were students at Harvard Medical School. The work of Dr. Farmer and PIH was chronicled in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains (Random House, 2003) by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder.
Conan O’Brien made some jokes at Kim’s expense in his 2011 Dartmouth College Commencement address:
I would like to thank President Kim for inviting me here today. After my phone call with President Kim, I decided to find out a little bit about the man. He goes by President Kim and Dr. Kim. To his friends, he’s Jim Kim, J to the K, Special K, JK Rowling, the Just Kidding Kimster, and most puzzling, “Stinky Pete.” He served as the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, spearheaded a task force for the World Health organisation on Global Health Initiatives, won a MacArthur Genius Grant and was one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2006. Good God, man, what the hell are you compensating for? Seriously. We get it; you’re smart. By the way Dr. Kim, you were brought to Dartmouth to lead, and as a world-class anthropologist, you were also hired to figure out why each of these graduating students ran around a bonfire 111 times.
We’re most blown away, however, by this video from IvyGate, showing Kim dancing and singing (with-heavy autotune) at the 2011 Dartmouth Idol finals (h/t @felixsalmon). A screenshot from his performance below:
Photo: IvyGate via Felix Salmon
UPDATE: It’s official. Obama just announced his nomination of Jim Yong Kim for World Bank President in a press conference.