S.Korea welcomes Obama nominates Jim Yong Kim as next president of World Bank

Obama World Bank

President Barack Obama walks toward the podium in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2012, to announce that Jim Yong

The South Korean government welcomed President Barack Obama nominated Jim Yong Kim, a Seoul-born U.S. citizen as the next president of the World Bank, the global lender that seeks to decrease poverty.

“Kim is the best man to fulfill the duty as the president of the World Bank to reform the organization and continue the fight against poverty based on his vast experience in international health care and development,” Bahk Jae Wan, the South Korean minister of Strategy & Finance, said in an e-mailed statement dated yesterday.

Kim, 52, has served as Dartmouth College president since 2009. He and his family moved to the U.S. when he was five, according to his biography on the Dartmouth website. He graduated from Brown University in 1982 and in 1991, earned his M.D. from Harvard University, where he later led its department of Global health and Social Medicine.

Kim received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly called a “genius award,” in 2003. He also served as director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department, where he focused on initiatives to help developing countries improve their treatment, prevention and care programs.

Kim would succeed Robert Zoellick, a former U.S. trade representative whose term ends in June. The U.S. is the biggest shareholder in the Washington-based bank, which has always been led by an American.

Jose Antonio Ocampo, a Colombian national and a professor at Columbia University in New York, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s finance minister, are the two other nominees who will be considered for the president’s post, the World Bank’s board of executive directors said in a statement yesterday.