GENEVA—The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the next 5 years, elected yesterday (May 21) by the World Health Assembly, is to be the man recommended by the executive board earlier this year—Jong-Wook Lee of South Korea.

In a striking, effective, and passionate acceptance speech before health ministers and other delegates at the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva, Lee had the audience on its feet to applaud the widow and son of the late Carlo Urbani, who as WHO representative to Vietnam was the first to warn the world of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) but then died of the disease himself. Lee said, "He has given us WHO at its best—not pushing paper but pushing back the results of poverty and disease."

Lee committed himself to strengthening the organization's activities at country levels, rather than at the Geneva headquarters (which has been greatly...

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