Jim Kim, President of the World Bank, speaks on global anti-poverty efforts

Jim Kim 1This Tuesday, Georgetown hosted the President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim. In a talk titled “Within Our Grasp: A World Free of Poverty,” Dr. Kim addressed the audience in Gaston Hall on issues ranging from climate change to the global state of the financial crisis.

The main focus of the speech, however, was that the international community is at an “auspicious moment in history … to give developing countries a chance … to end extreme poverty within a generation.” He cited experiences in various countries, including China and Afghanistan, to illustrate the programs the World Bank Group believes will help eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. He also emphasized the importance of “boost[ing] the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of the population in each country.”

Focusing on the bottom 40 percent, he said, “demands that we … look directly at whether the welfare of the poorest segment of society is improving.”

Dr. Kim described a broader perspective on economic development, stressing the necessity of delivery of resources as well as content. “Countries … tell us plans for new sanitation plants, or new roads … have been approved, but years later, they still are not completed. These are delivery failures, and … they’re the greatest obstacle to development progress.”

Several prominent leaders in the development community were present, including Rajiv Shah, the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Dr. Kim has a long history of work in the development sector. After graduating from Harvard with an M.D. and a PhD in anthropology, he helped found the public health organization Partners in Health in 1987, which provides health services to remote areas of Haiti, and researched multi-drug resistant tuberculosis treatment across four continents.

He moved to the World Health Organization as an adviser before taking on the position of Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In 2009 he became the President of Dartmouth College, and three years later, President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Kim for the President of the World Bank Group.

Photo:Julia Tanaka/Georgetown Voice

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