From university to World Bank president

Nieuws | de redactie
16 april 2012 | The World Bank elected American university president Jim Yong Kim as its new president. As an educator he pledges to tackle “high levels of unemployment and skill mismatches facing young people”.

Two candidates were in the race for becoming the next World Bankpresident: Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala andAmerican-Korean Dartmouth University president Jim Yong Kim. In apublic statement today, the World Bank announced thatKim will become its next president.

Kim has a strong academic background having lectured at HarvardMedical School between 1993 and 2009 after which he becamepresident of the American Dartmouth University. In the meantime, hebuilt his reputation as health expert when he joined the WHO (WorldHealth Organization) where he became director of the HIV/AIDSdepartment.

Top researcher and leader

The 52-year-old was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to theU.S. when he was 5. He spent his university education at the IvyLeague universities Brown and Harvard where he earned a medicaldoctorate in 1991 and a Ph.D. in 1993.

In its announcement the World Bank highlighted that “Kim wasnamed one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by US News & WorldReport (2005), and was selected as one of TIME magazine’s “100 MostInfluential People in the World” (2006). He was elected in 2004 tothe Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences-oneof the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine-for hisprofessional achievements and commitment to service. He haspublished widely over the past two decades, authoring orco-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 DirectorsKim talked about how his experience as a university leader andacademic would make him the perfect candidate for the job:

“As President of Dartmouth – a leading knowledge institutionwith 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 theinstitution’s budget at a time of reduced investment returns, whileprotecting the quality of both research and teaching.”

“I understand the very difficult choices that confrontinstitutions with declining or flat administrative budgets, andwould work closely with the Board to ensure that we safeguard theBank’s sound financial model and considerable pool of talent, whileensuring the Bank can achieve its mandate.”

“As an educator, today, I am deeply concerned about the highlevels of unemployment and skill mismatches facing young people.Young men and women worldwide are vulnerable, underemployed orunemployed and feel disconnected from systems they feel no longerwork well for them. They need opportunity, skills and access tocapital. This is an urgent priority.”


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