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.
MODERATOR: Good afternoon and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center. We're very pleased to have with us today USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. He's going to discuss his recent trip to Pakistan and provide us with an update on U.S. flood relief efforts and assistance in Pakistan.
Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, good morning. I would like to start by thanking the Secretary-General, in particular, for bringing light to such a crucial and timely topic for the coming year. I also thank our distinguished colleagues from the United Nations for inviting us to be a part of such an important event.
Thank you very much, Brooke, for that kind introduction. Also, thank you Under Secretary Miller, for your words this morning and for continuing to be an essential partner in our united efforts to combat global hunger.
Mr. Weisenfeld: Thanks for coming. It's nice to be here.
I thought I'd just talk for a couple of minutes to set some context, although I expect that since you guys are reporters and you're covering the issues in Haiti you're probably already very knowledgeable, and I'm sure there's a lot of press coverage that's happened in the last week or so given the six months anniversary.
Hello. This is really special. And pardon me because when I look around this room and see Dr. Holdren and so many other creative thinkers, it gives me a huge amount of confidence that we can actually address some of the most pressing and difficult challenges in the world.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Let me first extend a warm welcome to our distinguished guests, former President Jimmy Carter; Chairman Sasakawa; our host Minister Tefera; my fellow panelist, Mr. Kubota; colleagues; ladies and gentlemen.
LISA CARTY: Welcome. Very glad to have you all here today. My name is Lisa Carty. I'm the deputy director of the Global Health Policy Center here at CSIS. We're very glad that you could join us for what promises to be a very exciting event in our ongoing Statesmen's series of speakers. A particular welcome to Dr. Shah and also to his staff that have joined him today. I'd also like to welcome our several hundred guests who are joining us online. And most particularly, I'd like to bring you all, but particularly Dr.
Thank you, Judge Marvin Kaminetz for that introduction, and thank you to Sean Penn for being here tonight and sharing such heartfelt remarks.
JAMES BEVER: Good morning, everybody. My name is Jim Bever. I'm the director for USAID's task force on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Welcome to the Ronald Reagan Building. Welcome to the home of USAID and welcome all our distinguished guests.
I will do a short introduction right now for Dr. Raj Shah, the administrator of USAID. We're just absolutely excited, so excited that he has come to AID and so pleased that Secretary Vilsack, secretary of Agriculture, was willing to let him go in January to join as the leader of USAID.
So that’s my reform agenda for high impact development. Taken together, I very much hope that these reforms will mark the most significant operational improvements to our nation’s development agency since President Kennedy announced the creation of USAID almost 50 years ago. Our anniversary is next fall, so we’re working against that timeline. And really a more efficient, results-oriented agency is needed now more than ever. In the five decades since our founding, the role of USAID in supporting our national priorities, particularly our national security priorities, has certainly evolved. America’s greatest security challenges are no longer state-based. Extreme poverty compromises basic human dignities, banishes hope for the future, and paves the way for the rise of transnational extremism.
Last updated: April 30, 2013