U.S. President Barack Obama announced today his pick to be the next head of the World Bank, surprising many observers with the choice of Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim.
Kim was not widely considered to be in the running, and would bring an unorthodox background to the job of running one of the world's biggest international economic institutions. (Obama's nominee has still not been formally approved for the job.) A physician by training, Kim has mostly worked in the field of global health, and is a former director of the HIV/AIDS department at the World Health Organization.
But while his experience in the realm of global governance can doubtlessly be applied at the World Bank, it's harder to know what to make of one of the other items on Kim's CV: his stint as a rapping spaceman.
Last year, while still serving in the role as the president of Dartmouth College, Kim appeared in a performance as part of the school's annual "Dartmouth Idol" competition. His talents obviously speak for themselves:
As the IvyGate blog commented at the time, "We don't know ... who won this year's Idol competition. All we know is that image of Prez Kim is now burned in our brain, whether we like it or not. So, with all due respect to whoever actually did win, we must declare that it's Jim Yong Kim, not anyone else, who is our IvyPrez Idol."
If nothing else, the fact that Kim evidently has a sense of humour might help in his potential new job. The World Bank has been a source of concern and controversy in many quarters in recent years, from criticism of its handling of the economic crisis to charges that both it and its sister institution the International Monetary Fund work against the interest of the poor. Even Kim's nomination represents a growing area of criticism, from developing countries that want to be better represented.
Aside from all of those worries, Kim may certainly be concerned that his turn as a rapper has been making almost as many headlines today as his nomination for the job. But he can take heart from the world of Canadian politics, where even today a rapping Member of Parliament made an appearance. Charlie Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins, gave a surprising musical performance on the first day of the NDP convention, along with his partner in rhyme, the MC known as "OB":
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