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THE HAGUE, 5 July 2016 - World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim delivered a highly inspiring and activating Joep Lange Institute lecture about tackling the global health challenges of our time. After referencing the feats of activists like Joep Lange, Kim deliberately focused his attention on the activists of the future, confronting the audience with the 'fierce urgency of now.'

Watch the lecture here.

Putting the importance of health into economic context, Kim stated that between 2000 and 2011, about 24% of the growth in full income of developing countries resulted from improvements in health. “Investments in human capital are probably the most important investments that any developing country can make right now to make a difference in their ability to compete in a future economy.”

“There is a really high cost for not acting on issues that are right in front of us.” Kim recalled the early days of HIV/AIDS, when treatment in Africa was deemed impossible. To the 25 million HIV-infected people in Africa, 99.9% of public health officials were basically saying ‘Sorry, you’re dead.’ Joep Lange changed this mental model and showed that treatment was feasible. He further emphasized the need to leverage the power of the private sector and its financial mechanisms to reduce risk and overcome poverty.

According to Kim, optimism is a moral choice. “The only morally defensible path is to try to create equal opportunity for everyone.” Kim, still an activist at heart, left the audience with a simple question: What are you going to do?

Joep Lange Institute
Over 250 guests and students from the fields of medicine, business, politics, the arts, civil society and global health research attended this first Joep Lange Institute Lecture at the Diligentia Theater in The Hague. The Institute believes that tackling the global health threats of our time requires a disruptive approach in order to come up with new answers, initiate solutions and advocate policy change.

Through events like today’s lecture, the Joep Lange Institute provides a platform for the world’s brightest minds; impatient optimists who can look past the obstacles in front of them and focus on what needs to be done. We are especially proud that Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who never hesitates to ask confronting questions to challenge the status quo, was the one to deliver this first Joep Lange Institute lecture.