Today, the World Bank announced Dartmouth College's president Jim Yong Kim as its new chief. As an alumna of Dartmouth, I've followed his tenure at the College and recently heard him speak about his vision for the school in San Francisco. He is a formidable speaker, but even more importantly, he knows how to get things done. Which is why I tend to agree with the Wall Street Journal's synopsis of his appointment to the World Bank:
[Dartmouth] will lose an excellent leader and as for the former [the World Bank], well, Dr. Kim is better than an institution that ought to be wound down really deserves.
President Obama passed over the usual roster of Wall Street retreads and ex-politicians angling for a sinecure in favor of the medical doctor and Dartmouth president, and he's an inspired pick. In the late 1980s Dr. Kim and Paul Farmer cofounded the charity Partners in Health, which delivers advanced medical care in Haiti, sub-Saharan Africa and other impoverished regions. His innovations challenged the many pieties of the foreign aid industrial complex and resulted in genuine health advances in some of the planet's poorest, most desperate places.
Over Dr. Kim's three years at Dartmouth he has proved to be higher education's Paul Ryan. He decisively resolved the school's financial problems that he inherited on taking office—with real budget cuts, over the objections of the faculty. One post this White House would never tap him for is budget director.