Undergraduate commencement speaker: Jim Yong Kim
Jim Yong Kim has dedicated himself to improving the lives of the world’s poor, as World Bank Group president, as an educational leader, and as a physician and anthropologist.
As the twelfth president of the World Bank Group—a position he has held since July 2012—Dr. Kim leads an international financial institution dedicated to reducing global poverty by promoting investments in economic development. He has advanced the World Bank’s strategic initiatives through an emphasis on collaboration—not just with governments and other institutions, but also with individuals. By listening to people—their questions, ideas, and opinions—Kim believes the Word Bank can make its programs even more effective.
Prior to joining the World Bank, Kim served as president of Dartmouth College, becoming the first physician to hold that prestigious post. Kim successfully led the university through the global financial crisis of 2009 and 2010, and was the guiding force behind the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science—the first international network of researchers and practitioners dedicated to developing new models of healthcare delivery and achieving better health outcomes at lower costs.
As director of the World Health Organization’s Department of HIV/AIDS, he led the “3 by 5” initiative, which sought to treat three million new HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries with antiretroviral drugs by 2005. Launched in September 2003, the ambitious program ultimately reached its goal in 2007.
Before that, Kim teamed up with another pioneering physician-anthropologist, Dr. Paul Farmer, to found Partners In Health, a Boston-based nonprofit organization now working in impoverished communities on four continents. Partners in Health proved that first-class healthcare can be delivered to the poorest sections of the poorest countries.
Born in 1959 in Seoul, South Korea, Jim Yong Kim moved with his family to the United States at the age of five and grew up in Muscatine, Iowa. He graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1982, earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1991, and received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University in 1993.
Before assuming the Dartmouth presidency, Kim held professorships and chaired departments at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston. He also served as director of Harvard’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.
Among his many awards and honors, Kim received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2003, was named one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report in 2005, and was selected as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006.