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 and thank you for inviting me to be with you today. It's a great privilege to be here with World Bank Group leadership, senior Colombian government officials, and so many distinguished participants from throughout the region.
I want to congratulate the World Bank Group for the recent launch of the ninth Doing Business report. USAID has had the honor of playing a central role in the Doing Business project from the beginning, and we are proud of the accomplishments that the report has spurred, not just in Latin America, but throughout the 183 countries covered globally.
It's fitting that Bogota is playing host to this event. Colombia has made such impressive progress in recent years that the Doing Business report has recognized the country as a top 10 global reformer.
Good Morning. Thank you Congressman Ritter for inviting me to participate in the conference. I would also like to congratulate Farid and the I Group on the award it received at this conference. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to address the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber and USAID have shared a common commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan. We have both worked to attract investment, generate employment, and expand market linkages.
I want to thank Col Meese for that introduction and for his hospitality today.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Raj, thank you very much. Deputy Administrator Steinberg. I missed Caroline, a great, good friend. I understand she was here earlier.
Today marks 50 years of USAID working to end poverty worldwide. Thank you to USAID employees, alumni and our government, donor and implementing partners for working to save lives and end poverty. Thank you to Ambassador Booth and our colleagues from the US Embassy and the Peace Corps for your support in accomplishing our shared mission.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be here today -- both to speak about the important work that USAID has done in the last 50 years; and to speak with those of you who are carrying out the agency's singular and vital mission.
Fifty-one years ago, a young man in the midst of a tough presidential campaign described the American nation poised on the edge of a new frontier-a frontier that offered hope, as well as new challenges. As he accepted the Democratic Nomination for the Presidency, Senator John F. Kennedy called on Americans to push past this frontier. He spoke with a conviction that global prosperity and security could be achieved through human progress, and that our future as a nation would be determined by our actions-and good deeds-across the developing world.
Welcome to the celebration of USAID's 50th anniversary and let me the first to wish all of you a happy birthday. It is a great honor as well to be able to introduce our first speaker, Ms. Caroline Kennedy.
For the vast majority of human history, mankind has been stuck in a trap.
Every time the world economy expanded or technology would progress, populations would increase. Besides an extremely small number of royals and elites, on average, people didn’t become wealthier. Economic growth and development as we understand it today simply didn’t exist.
I came here to share a very brief message, and it's just, "thank you". The work that you do around the world really does represent the very best of American values. You know that -- and of course, so many people here in the community where you reside appreciate that -- but I just wanted to let you know that this Administration appreciates that. Certainly USAID as a partner agency is deeply proud of the longstanding and ever expanding partnership that we have with World Vision.
Last updated: January 28, 2014