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A Champion of the Poor to Lead the World Bank

The following is a guest post submitted by Mark Schuller, Assistant Professor, African American Studies and Anthropology Department of Social Sciences York College, City University of New York. The piece is written by Philippe Bourgois, Richard Perry University Professor of Anthropology and Family & Community Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and Luke Messac, MD/PhD student, University of Pennsylvania

For many European and American citizens the World Bank is a peripheral institution, rarely felt and barely understood. But in impoverished developing countries, the Bank has exerted a tremendous influence over national budgets profoundly altering the survival strategies and basic life chances of the poor majorities of those nations.  As a hegemonic voice in development economics, the World Bank is a felt–and often feared– presence in the lives of the world’s most destitute.  Too often, this well-heeled international lender’s imposition of “structural adjustment reforms” has backfired, harming more than helping the poor.  This month’s election of a new World Bank President is an unparalleled opportunity to refashion the Bank into the effective instrument to eradicate global poverty it was meant to be. No one is better equipped to lead this mammoth undertaking than Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President Obama’s nominee to lead the World Bank. Continue reading

Anthropologist, Dr. Jim Yong Kim nominated to head World Bank

On Friday, March 23, President Barack Obama selected Partners In Health co-founder and Dartmouth College President Dr. Jim Yong Kim as the United States’ nominee to be President of the World Bank. If he is elected by the World Bank’s Board of Governors in April, Dr. Kim will lead the institution’s efforts to reduce poverty and generate sustainable, broad-based growth.

PIH co-founder, medial anthropologist and AAA member, Dr. Paul Farmer applauded the nomination of his long-time colleague and friend. “I can think of no one more able to help families, communities, and entire nations break out of poverty, which is the stated goal of the World Bank,” Dr. Farmer said. “Having had the good fortune to train with Jim at Harvard, and to see him work in settings from inner-city Boston to the slums of Peru, from Haiti to Rwanda to the prisons of Siberia, I know that for three decades Jim has committed himself to breaking the cycle of poverty and disease.” Read Dr. Farmer’s full statement.

Dr. Farmer’s enthusiastic endorsement was echoed by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

“I was delighted to learn that Jim Kim has been nominated for this post, as he is a true friend of Africa and well known for his decade of work to support us in developing an efficient health system in Rwanda,” President Kagame said. “He’s not only a physician and a leader who knows what it takes to address poverty, but also a genuinely good person.”

Dr. Kim is an infectious disease specialist and medical anthropologist who has been working to serve the poor across the globe for nearly three decades. He and Paul Farmer met as medical students at Harvard and joined with Thomas J. White, Ophelia Dahl, and Todd McCormack in 1987 to found Partners In Health.

Dr. Kim previously served as Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and as Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. From 2004 to 2006, he headed the HIV/AIDS Department at the World Health Organization.

Former President Bill Clinton hailed Dr. Kim as “an inspired and outstanding choice to lead the World Bank based on his years of commitment and leadership to development and particularly health care and AIDS treatment across the world.”

Read more at Partners in Health.

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