Campaigners can still learn from the Abolition of Slavery: guest post by Max Lawson

March 24, 2012

World Water Day in pics; tobacco as development issue; history of $1 a day; India acts on overpriced drugs; BAe in Tanzania; Zinisha: Links I liked

March 24, 2012

He can rap, he can dance, but should Jim Yong Kim be the next President of the World Bank?

March 24, 2012
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I’m in Boston and should really be going off to teach a weekend course on How Change Happens at Brandeis University, but I can’t drag myself away from watching Jim Yong Kim on youtube. Kim, a Korean American health expert and currently president of the prestigious Dartmouth College, is Washington’s nomination for the next head of the World Bank, a choice presumably intended to wrongfoot critics of the US’ traditional stranglehold on the nomination (because a) he was born in South Korea and b) he knows a lot about development). The critics are unimpressed: Kevin Gallagher explains why Colombia’s José Antonio Ocampo is better qualified for the job and Lant Pritchett does the same for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. They’re both pretty convincing.

On the other hand, and talking of nifty footwork, I bet neither Ocampo or Okonjo-Iweala has performed Thriller on stage – watch this to two minutes in to see ‘the only Ivy League president who can dance’ (admittedly, not a very high bar….).  [h/t Global Dashboard]

He can also rap, or at least is willing to give it a go in public (three minutes in)

Not only that but he is not Larry Summers. The man clearly has a lot going for him.

OK, I really must go to work now (more to follow on the Brandeis seminar – really interesting group of students)


  1. On the other hand, Peter Bosshard at International Rivers has a different take on Jim Yong Kim’s suitability. See his blog rather liked his comments “I do not understand why NGO activists
    need to support representatives of the status quo such as South Africa’s
    finance minister Trevor Manuel or in fact Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was
    the World Bank’s Managing Director for many years…While I cannot claim to know Jim Yong
    Kim’s work in detail, this approach [his work at Partners for Health especially] is certainly closer to my heart than
    the policies espoused by other candidates for the World Bank job”. He concludes by asking if Jim Yong Kim’s prsidency would offer a chance to reinvent the World Bank (to address poverty and injustice through bottom-up solutions), especially if his nomination is a signal that the Obama administration would back a new approach.

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