Back in 2012, when Jim Yong Kim was the president of Dartmouth College, he got a phone call from Dartmouth alum and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner. Geithner told him the government wanted to hire him away. Where did this unusual request come from? The President of the United States. Barack Obama wished to nominate Dr. Kim to become the next president of the World Bank. The World Bank is a part of the World Bank Group that implements loans to developing countries in the attempt to end poverty and illness while promoting economic development. Jim Young Kim in a matter of only a week went from the president of Dartmouth College to the president of the World Bank Group.
Jim Yong Kim was an unlikely candidate; he is the first president that doesn’t have private sector background. He’s not a banker, he’s not a lawyer, and he isn’t a government official. He doesn’t even carry an economic degree. How is he running the World Bank? Well, Dr. Kim is a physician, anthropologist, and academic, and he carries a personal understanding of the World Bank’s goals. Dr. Kim carries first hand experiences in treating patients in Haiti with significantly cheaper, more effective medicine. Dr. Kim was the first to venture into large-scale treatment programs and attempt to treat diseases in poor countries. He has played a major role in promoting a treatment campaign for Aids in Africa and has lead programs that have treated more than 7 million Africans with HIV and counting. He carries a different perspective than any other World Bank leader, he knows the realistic, first-hand experiences in attempting to end poverty and cure illnesses.
Born in Korea, Jim Yong Kim moved to a small town in Iowa, was the starting quarterback for his high school, the starting point guard for his high school basketball team, and president of his high school class. Oh yeah, he also has a mean golf game. There really isn’t much this guy can’t do. After going into non-profits and delivering primary healthcare to poor countries, he was the chairman of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University. He then became the 17th president of Dartmouth College, making him the fist Asian American to become a president of an Ivy League institution.
Although, there has been controversy surrounding the World Bank. The World Bank has to make decisions of what countries get these loans and grants. The loans and grants must come with an agreement of a payback time period and at what interest rate. There are also more detailed policies that come along with getting this loan. Even Dr. Kim himself was at one point against the World Bank and participated in the movement 50 Years is Enough, a campaign against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Since taking the presidency he has reformed the bank’s famous bureaucratic system, and while they will always be criticism on where the World Bank’s funds go, it continues to fight poverty and illnesses and promote economic development wherever possible, and Dr. Kim deserves the credit for the direction he is moving the World Bank in.