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.
I am thrilled to be here today to launch our new policy on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment, an update to a 30-year-old policy that will significantly strengthen our capacity to support women and girls by ensuring our efforts are well-integrated and based in rigorous analysis.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to meet with you-to gain the benefit of your collective experiences in counter trafficking and share the focus behind our new policy.
Although we don't have precise numbers, as many as 27 million men, women and children may be essentially enslaved in sex or labor exploitation-more than double the population of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago combined.
I am very pleased to welcome you today for the launch of USAID's new Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. It is designed to become a core evidence-based resource in the field , and strengthen our own culture of data, research and evaluation within USAID. This Center represents our Agency-wide focus on measuring performance to determine what really works. Instead of driving our programming based the conclusions of a handful of experts, we will conduct ongoing, in-depth oral histories, impact evaluations and country assessments to understand where and how we can be most effective.
It's a great honor to be able to welcome the first group of Bush Institute Egyptian Fellows to Washington. You bring with you a wealth of experience in the arenas of education, health, business, politics, law and the media. You have achieved so much in your lives already - I understand that one of you is actually only 23 years old. I'm humbled. But then again, it is a sobering thought to think that when he Mozart was my age, he had been dead for 23 years.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I'm pleased and honored to be here at Harvard University, and have an opportunity to discuss the evolving development landscape in Asia with you.
It's a great honor to speak here today on the topic of ensuring inclusive approaches toward peace processes and post-conflict peacebuilding. I want to thank American University's School of International Service and Julie Mertus in particular for their leadership in putting this program together, along with BlueLaw LLP, the Stimson Center, and Women Enabled. I also wanted to salute the work of our own dedicated professionals at USAID, including our Disability and Inclusive Development Coordinator Charlotte McLain-Nhlapo and Senior Governance Advisor Chloe Schweinke.
The fundamental reality is that immense challenges like climate change, poverty and food insecurity aren't going solved by traditional approaches. The scale of those challenges is so massive, they will require new innovations, driven by the transformational power of science and technology. To drive this approach forward, we are embracing innovation and science as a core part of our work-recapturing USAID's legacy of transformational development through technological breakthroughs. The legacy that helped bring us the Green Revolution and oral rehydration therapy. And a legacy that helped green the Sahel, transforming 50 million hectares threatened by desertification-an area larger than Sweden-into sustainably productive lands.
Good morning, and thank you, Noam, for that kind introduction and for your important work here. I'm pleased to be able to join you today and want to thank Brookings for all the great work that you've been doing in this space.
Good evening and thank you all for coming to this important event.
I want to acknowledge Senator Chris Coons, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. Senator Coons has been a passionate, astute and dedicated partner to developing nations from his very first day in office.
Last updated: January 28, 2014