World Bank

Jim Yong Kim Confirmed as World Bank President

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Jim Yong Kim, stands while being announced by U.S. President Barack Obama on March 23. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Surprise nominee Dr. Jim Yong Kim has today been chosen as the next President of the World Bank, The Washington Post reports.

Currently serving as President of Dartmouth College, Dr. Kim was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama last month. His selection as the President’s nominee was seen as a surprising one, as the Post reports:

Kim’s selection marks a break from previous World Bank leaders who were typically political, legal or economic figures [while] Kim, 52, [is] a physician and pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world.

Obama Nominates Physician, Global Health Expert to Head World Bank

 Photo via Getty Images.
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, nominee for president of the World Bank, at the White House Friday 3/23/12. Photo via Getty Images.

In a move that surprised many in the world of economics and politics, on Friday morning President Obama nominated Jim Yong Kim, the South Korea-born physician, anthropologist and president of Dartmouth College, to be the next president of the World Bank.

Prior to taking the helm at Dartmouth in 2009, Kim, 52, led the global health and social medicine department at Harvard Medical School, of which he is a graduate. Widely considered one of the leading minds in world health, Kim also has served as a director of the HIV/AIDS department at the World Health Organization, where he focused on helping developing countries improve treatment and prevention programs.

Obama called Kim, “an innovative leader whose groundbreaking work to fight disease and combat poverty has saved lives around the globe.” The President said Kim is exceptionally well qualified for the position but brings “more to the role than an impressive record of designing new ways to solve entrenched problems.

“Development is his lifetime commitment, and it is his passion,” Obama said. “And in a world with so much potential to improve living standards, we have a unique opportunity to harness that passion and experience at the helm of the World Bank.”

Finally, Jubilee!

After a grand slam of hurricanes devastated Haiti in 2008, relief agencies promptly pitched in to clean up. But the most crucial form of relief for the impoverished nation—debt relief—has finally arrived following Haiti’s completion of the World Bank’s required policy changes under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In September 2009, Haitian and U.S. diplomats signed an agreement to erase the last of Haiti’s external debt, which totaled more than $1 billion. Although natural disasters like the 2008 hurricanes compounded Haiti’s financial troubles, some of the worst debts the country was forced to pay were racked up decades before by the Duvalier dictatorship. “It was more than time!” Claudette Werleigh, former prime minister of Haiti, told Sojourners. “A large part of the debt was due to cumulative interest that often surpasses the amount of money actually borrowed. It was cruel and inhumane to ask a population fighting for bare survival to pay such a sum.” In achieving eligibility for debt relief, Haiti joined more than 20 countries that have completed the HIPC program so far.

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Sojourners Magazine January 2010
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Dangerous Denial

Images of purple mountains’ majesty, verdant meadows, and noshing elk and bison slide across my TV screen, as an announcer with a grandfatherly voice assures me that CO2 is not pollution. “In fact,” he says, “higher CO2 levels than we have today would help the Earth’s ecosystems and support more plant and animal life.”

This is an ad sponsored by a group called CO2 Is Green (it’s actually a colorless gas, but I trust they were going for symbolism). Their goal is to stop regulation or legislation that would attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. The fact that CO2 Is Green is a project of retired oil industry executive H. Leighton Steward and current coal executive Corbin J. Robertson Jr. is no doubt purely coincidental. I’m sure their real passion is photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis, as you may recall from fourth-grade science, is the genuinely wonderful process by which plants take water and carbon dioxide (produced by animal respiration, some bacteria, fungi, and Hyundais, among other sources) and transform them into leaves, shoots, prize-winning giant pumpkins, and, that sentimental favorite of many living things, oxygen.

So, according to some people—many of whom have ties to fossil fuel industries—more CO2 means more photosynthesis. By this logic, more coal-burning power plants equal more trees (except when the trees are on a mountaintop being removed to mine coal). As for global warming, if CO2 makes the earth hotter—great! Who wants ice anyway, except hockey players and bartenders?

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Sojourners Magazine January 2010
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