Two candidates were in the race for becoming the next World Bank president: Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and American-Korean Dartmouth University president Jim Yong Kim. In a public statement today, the World Bank announced that Kim will become its next president.
Kim has a strong academic background having lectured at Harvard Medical School between 1993 and 2009 after which he became president of the American Dartmouth University. In the meantime, he built his reputation as health expert when he joined the WHO (World Health Organization) where he became director of the HIV/AIDS department.
Top researcher and leader
The 52-year-old was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the U.S. when he was 5. He spent his university education at the Ivy League universities Brown and Harvard where he earned a medical doctorate in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 1993.
In its announcement the World Bank highlighted that "Kim was named one of America's "25 Best Leaders" by US News & World Report (2005), and was selected as one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" (2006). He was elected in 2004 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences-one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine-for his professional achievements and commitment to service. He has published widely over the past two decades, authoring or co-authoring articles for leading academic and scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and Science. "
Educator's angle on world issues
In a statement to the World Bank Board of Directors Kim talked about how his experience as a university leader and academic would make him the perfect candidate for the job:
"As President of Dartmouth - a leading knowledge institution with a medical school, a business school, an engineering school, and about 4,500 employees - I managed an $820 million budget, oversaw a $3.5 billion endowment and made necessary cuts in the institution's budget at a time of reduced investment returns, while protecting the quality of both research and teaching."
"I understand the very difficult choices that confront institutions with declining or flat administrative budgets, and would work closely with the Board to ensure that we safeguard the Bank's sound financial model and considerable pool of talent, while ensuring the Bank can achieve its mandate."
"As an educator, today, I am deeply concerned about the high levels of unemployment and skill mismatches facing young people. Young men and women worldwide are vulnerable, underemployed or unemployed and feel disconnected from systems they feel no longer work well for them. They need opportunity, skills and access to capital. This is an urgent priority."