Jim Yong Kim: Superstar Pragmatist

Call me a proud alum.  If you haven't yet heard of Jim Yong Kim, the Dartmouth College president nominated by Obama today to head the World Bank, then welcome to a galactic superstar in the making.  Only three years into his tenure at Dartmouth, I am disappointed to potentially see Kim go, but his dynamic and pragmatic leadership and his interdisciplinary outlook on development and public health holds the potential to transform the World Bank into one of the 21st century's most important institutions.  I am particularly excited about the potential for the World Bank to continue to pursue programs that connect economic development, climate change, and public health.


The Washington Post editorializes that Kim is an "ideal choice," opinion page editor Fred Hiatt calls him "a groundbreaking choice," and the Post's Ezra Klein has perhaps the best overview of Kim's career arc and the unique qualities he brings to the job.

At Dartmouth, among initiatives, Kim grabbed my attention with his immediate pursuit of harm reduction related to college drinking and his intense passion for applying the science of human performance to college athletics, academic achievement, and the formation among students of lifelong habits related to mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Take a look at the video below from the Dartmouth Idol series.  Kim joins students about 2 minutes into the video with a rap and dance performance, turning popular pop and rap lyrics into a message about campus fun without alcohol.  There are few people in the country who merge Kim's experience, intellectual heft, and charisma.  I anticipate that the World Bank is just the start of his national leadership.

Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Moon landing astronauts reveal they possibly infected Earth with space germs

Two Apollo 11 astronauts question NASA's planetary safety procedures.

Credit: Bettmann, Getty Images.
Surprising Science
  • Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins revealed that there were deficiencies in NASA's safety procedures following the Apollo 11 mission.
  • Moon landing astronauts were quarantined for 21 days.
  • Earth could be contaminated with lunar bacteria.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less