Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth College, was named as the new chief of World Bank yesterday. For the first time, the head of World Bank is not a politician or a banker. Proponents are looking forward to a change in World Bank’s culture, but opponents doubt his ability to cope with diverse regulatory issues as a physician.
It is exciting to see a physician who dares initiate changes people who suffer from the worst condition to become the next leader of the leading organization that is composed of 187 member states. I take the position to defend Dr. Kim and do not agree with the doubt in his ability, because as he explored the ways to enable the poorest people to receive HIV/AIDS treatment, it takes not only professional knowledge, but virtue and qualities. Only when one is daring, consistent, persevering, wise, and compassionate can she build care programs at places where there is no infrastructure, no support, no means, but only misconceptions and an underdeveloped medical culture. These are the very qualities leaders of the next generation need. And the consistent compassion can easily be vulnerable in the face of temptations in one’s career path, but Dr. Kim has always been with the people, and mostly the people in need. He co-founded Partners in Health to ensure more people in developing countries could receive HIV/AIDS treatment, helped created the 3 by 5 Initiative, a project that helped millions of people gain access to anti-retroviral Therapy, and co-founded the Global Health Delivery Project that helped improve local practitioners’ knowledge. The 21st century is the time to alleviate misfortunes of the disadvantaged and people from the most bottom level, because we have waited for too long. I think Mr. Kim has the capability of creating a new path if he keeps his advocacy to "not afraid of challenging existing orthodoxies".