A women's group that had mounted spirited opposition to the prospective nomination of former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers as president of the World Bank hailed Friday's selection of Jim Yong Kim by President Barack Obama.
Kim, 52, a doctor who is president of Dartmouth College, was praised by UltraViolet, which claims 300,000 members. The group said Kim is a good choice to lead the Bank because of his background in public health.
We are glad that President Obama listened to over 42,000 members of UltraViolet, as well as members of Public Citizen, and decided to nominate someone who helped found Partners in Health and directed the World Health Organization's department of HIV/AIDS -- activities that have helped millions across the world live better lives, the group announced.
UltraViolet said it hoped Kim, who ran clinics in Peru for tuberculosis patients before his work on AIDS prevention, will be a champion for women and girls throughout the world.
The group had campaigned against Summers, 57, citing past controversies over his statements about women. As president of Harvard University, Summers in 2005 received a no-confidence vote from the faculty after he had said issues of intrinsic aptitude keep women out of the sciences.
UltraViolet also claimed that Summers had shown disrespect for another prospective nominee, Christina Romer, 53, who was Obama's first head of the Council of Economic Advisers while Summers served as a senior economic adviser. Romer had said, I felt like a piece of meat.
Kim's nomination must be forwarded to the World Bank's board of directors. The United States, as the Bank's biggest shareholder, has always controlled the process and an American has served as president since 1944.
Three African countries Friday nominated a woman, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for the president's job. Okonjo-Iweala is a former vice president of the World Bank and also served as its managing director.
She would be the first female World Bank president. The bank's financial partner, the International Monetary Fund, is now led by its first woman managing director, Christine Lagarde of France.
Jose Antonio Ocampo, 59, a former finance minister of Colombia, is also a candidate but has yet to be officially nominated.
Nominations close Friday. If there are more than three candidates, a short list must be selected. Japan is the second-biggest Bank shareholder, followed by China. Neither country has announced support for a nominee.