Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of USAID and leads the efforts of more than 9,600 professionals in 80 missions around the world.
Since being sworn in on Dec. 31, 2009, Shah managed the U.S. Government's response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; co-chaired the State Department's first review of American diplomacy and development operations; and now spearheads President Barack Obama's landmark Feed the Future food security initiative. He is also leading “USAID Forward,” an extensive set of reforms to USAID's business model focusing on seven key areas, including procurement, science & technology, and monitoring & evaluation.
Before becoming USAID's Administrator, Shah served as undersecretary for research, education and economics, and as chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which significantly elevated the status and funding of agricultural research.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Shah served for seven years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including as director of agricultural development in the Global Development Program, and as director of strategic opportunities.
Originally from Detroit, Shah earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his master's in health economics from the Wharton School of Business. He attended the London School of Economics and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Shah is married to Shivam Mallick Shah and is the father of three children. He lives in Washington, D.C.
After a very successful meeting in Mandalay at the end of March, we now have a critical mass of champions who are highly committed to moving the agenda on migrant health care further along, in whichever way we can, with whatever resources we can muster, the key operative word being partnership. Partnership between health, labor and social security, partnership between public and private sector, between government and civil society, and between the countries, to develop shared solutions to a common and complex health area. Also, partnership among development partners; we have a large group of external agencies who have come together to demonstrate our friendship and support for the cause. This meeting is a joint effort between IHPP Foundation, USAID, UNDP and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
We know that in the critical window of a 1,000 days, we can provide the nutrition so children have the basic immune strength to protect themselves from simple diseases against which they would otherwise die, and we know that simply trying to address diseases without also making sure these children are well nourished simply won’t achieve the outcome we seek. And we know that healthy behavior such as the one being promoted in this photograph are essential to success, even if we have enough resources for the commodities, the drugs, the diagnostics that are often what we talk about in price. It’s ultimately the way people behave that determines whether or not our goal, our shared aspiration of ending child death, is actually possible.
As President Obama has said, the interests of the United States align squarely with the desires of the Ukrainian people—and we remain a committed partner as you weather this crisis and build a new future. It will take ingenuity. It will take focus.
But most importantly, it will take the courage to confront a deeply corrosive system that has embedded corruption into the fabric of Ukrainian society. From the massive impunity of the nation’s previous regime to the kind of petty bribery that supplements a civil servant’s meager salary, corruption has become a way of life.
USAID is committed to inclusive development, not only as an issue of human rights, but also because discrimination and exclusionary laws contribute to poverty. We cannot have inclusive development if LGBT populations are excluded. Their active participation is necessary for our success.
Some of the challenges we face, but also the progress we’ve made in getting important reforms through the Congress of our food aid and assistance programs, are starting to create a new and stronger American ethic around our collective responsibility to genuinely lead on the issue of ending hunger and creating food security.
We all know and you’ve heard earlier today that by 2050, the world will need to feed 9 to 10 billion people and will need to do it by driving productivity improvements—in particular, in places where productivity has been relatively low—and by bringing online much of the commercial potential of food production in places like sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, where there is still great gains to be made.
Hamjambo mabibi na mabwana. Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to launch this important project with you. Today we celebrate another achievement that will bring water and sanitation to more Kenyans, and that is truly something to celebrate.
Thank you to the UNWTO and the Department of Tourism (DOT) for inviting me to this conference to talk about climate change response from an international perspective, specifically how we can build sustainable tourist destinations that are resilient to environmental threats and climate change impacts. I commend the organizers for engaging development partners, public and private sectors to make economic growth more broad-based and inclusive in the Philippines. Allow me to share USAID’s perspective as a development partner that recognizes the need for protecting the country’s environmental and natural resources in order to promote an agenda of economic growth.
We have an exceptional mission, and we do pursue it with some exceptional people. But 842 million people—the great majority of whom are children—will still go to sleep hungry tonight. Over the next three days, as you share experiences and ideas, I encourage you to ask yourself and each other: are we transforming fast enough against our aspirations?
As this impressive report shows, there is no question we have the tools: massive capital, cutting-edge innovations, high-impact partnerships and—perhaps most importantly—unprecedented presidential and bipartisan leadership. The rest is up to us—the leaders in this room and in cities around the world. I look forward to carrying forward this conversation with you over the next three days.
On behalf of the American people and the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development, allow me to extend our sincere appreciation for inviting us to participate in today’s celebration of the Persons with Disabilities Day. I am honored to be among leaders from the government, private sector, and the PWD community, who are championing the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities.
If we are going to end extreme poverty by 2030, it will be your generation that takes it across the finish line. This is your moonshot. And we need you to lead. Those of you who become ministers in your governments will need to prioritize the poor, fight corruption, and demand tough reforms. Those of you who join the Foreign Service at State or USAID will need to focus relentlessly on data, accountability, and results. Those of you who will become business leaders will need to take risks to deliver solutions not only for the urban middle class, but poor, rural communities. But all of you—and this is harder than it sounds—will have to stay connected to the spirit of compassion and service that is so evident on campus this weekend.
Last updated: August 04, 2014