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.
Good morning. I'd like to thank Bread for the World and David Beckmann in particular for inviting me here today. I saw David earlier this year in Iowa, where he was collecting his very well deserved World Food Prize.
Hunger, both at home and abroad, is not a problem of capability, or a problem of scarcity, or a problem of technological limitations. It is a problem of collective action.
Feed the Future, a presidential initiative designed to reverse global hunger trends, is a whole-of-government approach aligning our resources with country-owned strategic plans to transform agricultural development and, ultimately, spur economic growth. It is part of a collaborative global effort to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
The U.S. higher education community is helping us make this happen.
Feed the Future aims to significantly reduce poverty and improve nutrition by harnessing the power of agriculture to increase the incomes of poor rural people, expanding opportunities for smallholder farmers and rural businesses throughout the value chain, and increasing the productivity and quality of food that poor people eat.
The United States is proud to be a part of this broad international effort to combat hunger and spur economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries. The collaborative global effort is centered on country-owned processes and plans that implement a common approach to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
President Obama pledged to spend at least $3.5 billion over three years on agriculture-led development – a more than doubling of our recent spending in this area. The United States is well on its way to achieving that financial commitment with an approved FY 2010 budget of $888 million that focuses investments in agricultural development and nutrition. Feed the Future, which is the U.S. Government’s contribution to the global effort, prioritizes investments in game-changing innovations and research, host country capacity, and strong mechanisms to hold both ourselves and our partners accountable for achieving sustainable outcomes in food security.
MR. CHANG: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for coming. Thanks for waiting. I want to kick off this briefing on tomorrow's expos as St. Xavier College. Briefing you tonight on the agriculture and food security expo will be Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Raj Shah. And after that, to brief you on the Expo For Democracy and Open Government, our Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Samantha Power, and Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.
My name is Sarah Mendelson and I am the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. I want to thank USIP for the leadership they are showing on 1325 and to thank my colleagues at USAID as well. We have many people in this agency and in this administration that have a long standing commitment to this issue.
Secretary Clinton has laid out in her October 16th speech why this is so critical to the United States and the value of women's participation in advancing peace and security.
I’d like to thank Ambassador Quinn and the organizers of the World Food Prize for inviting me to speak today. I’ve been to this event for a few years now, and every year it seems its enthusiasm and exposure grows.
I think it’s telling that after years of travelling around the world, the first time I run into Kofi Annan in an airport is in Des Moines.
I also want to thank two pillars of Iowa politics and the world of Agriculture, Secretary Vilsack and Senator Harkin, for their mentorship, leadership and advocacy of our cause.
I. INTRODUCTION – A GROWING COMMUNITY
I want to thank Columbia Business School for inviting me here to speak today. As a Wharton grad, it’s nice to know I’m welcome here. Thank you to Professor Ray Fisman [Director, Social Enterprise Program, Columbia Business School], and to your conference organizers, Daniel and Lucia [Class of 2011] for inviting me to close this important conference.
I really appreciate the chance to address this audience, one filled with students and social entrepreneurs, both poised and eager to address the world’s inequities.
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks for waiting for a few minutes. We’d like to thank the Foreign Press Center and the U.S. Mission to the UN for hosting us this afternoon. We have a very interesting briefing for you today, and we have five distinguished U.S. officials to discuss with you the U.S. approach to the Millennium Development Goals, the President’s new policy on development, and the speech that he just gave earlier today before the UN General Assembly.
Last updated: April 30, 2013