Pres. Obama announced Jim Kim (second from left) as his pick to be the next World Bank president March 23, 2012. (Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP)It's fair to say that surprise was the initial Beltway reaction to President Obama's announcement Friday that he'd picked Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim as the U.S. nominee to lead the World Bank. Kim, a Harvard-trained medical doctor, anthropologist and former World Health Organization official, is not a familiar creature around Washington circles. White House whispers had previously floated more well-known political figures for the position being vacated in June by Robert Zoellick—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former White House economic adviser Larry Summers, Sen. John Kerry and U.N. envoy Susan Rice, to name a few.
But it didn't take long for the rave reviews from the global health and development community to come in. Kim was an inspired choice, they said, to head the 187-nation bank, whose mission is to fight poverty and promote development.
"This [the choice] is much more significant than 'he is not a Washington insider,'" Heather Hurlburt, a former Clinton administration official who is now executive director of the progressive National Security Network, told Yahoo News. Hurlburt met Kim about ten years ago when she worked with Bono on the One campaign anti-poverty initiative. "This is someone who has actually done development. Have we ever had a World Bank president whose specialty is development? He is a practitioner."
Even former President Bill Clinton weighed in. "Jim Kim is an inspired and outstanding choice to lead the World Bank," he said in a statement, that noted Kim's "years of commitment and leadership to development and particularly health care and AIDS treatment across the world."Read More »from Who is Jim Kim, Obama’s choice to head World Bank?