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World Bank President Bob Zoellick, MPP ’81, in deep discussion with HKS students gathered around a narrow table at the World Bank headquarters, waved away staffers reminding him that the 45- minutes set aside for the meeting had long since expired.
On Oct. 16, ten HKS students pitched their ideas on the global food crisis in front of Zoellick and other World Bank executives in Washington, D.C.
Discussion evolved around how Zoellick is retooling the World Bank to delve into redevelopment and attack the issues of hunger and food security in unconventional ways. Zoellick offered thorough analysis and critique of what the students brought.
“[Zoellick] had them stop and think about each individual decision,” said Professor Sheila Burke, who accompanied the students. “And the students did a wonderful job of making their case through the analysis.”
High-spirited evaluation of choices from framing to analytical tools complemented and extended a question-and-answer session. Students were treated to an inside look at where Zoellick is steering the organization whose every move has widespread impact on global policy issues.
Three World Bank Vice Presidents lauded the scope and depth of the briefing. Ke Ji, MPP ’10 recalled one saying, “Oh my gosh, [Pres. Zoellick] was really impressed. If he’s not engaged, he’ll just be polite. If he’s interested, he really drills down.’
Kyoung Lee, MPP ’10 relished in the “unfiltered access” to Zoellick, as the institution over which he presides figured largely in her policy memo.
“It was so wonderful,” said Lee. “He exemplifies the ability to be strategic at 30,000 miles above and then dive right down into the weeds for detail,” said Lee.