Dr. Rajiv Shah led the efforts of nearly 10,000 staff in more than 70 countries around the world to advance USAID’s mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies.
Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, USAID applied innovative technologies and engaged the private sector to solve the world’s most intractable development challenges. This new model of development brings together an increasingly diverse community—from large companies to local civil society groups to communities of faith—to deliver meaningful results.
Dr. Shah led President Obama’s landmark Feed the Future and Power Africa initiatives and has refocused America’s global health partnerships to end preventable child death. Feed the Future, alone, has improved nutrition for 12 million children and empowered more than 7 million farmers with climate-smart tools they need to grow their way out of extreme poverty. In April 2014, USAID launched the U.S. Global Development Lab to harness the expertise of the world’s brightest scientists, students, and entrepreneurs. At the same time, the newly formed Private Capital Group for Development forges a more strategic relationship between private capital and development.
Dr. Shah also managed the U.S. Government’s humanitarian response to catastrophic crises around the world, from the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Through an extensive set of reforms called “USAID Forward,” Dr. Shah worked with the United States Congress to transform USAID into the world’s premier development Agency that prioritizes public-private partnerships, innovation, and meaningful results. He currently serves on the boards of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as participates on the National Security Council.
Previously, Dr. Shah served as Undersecretary and Chief Scientist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he created the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he spent eight years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led efforts in global health, agriculture, and financial services, including the creation of the International Finance Facility for Immunization.
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and the Wharton School of Business. He regularly appears in the media and has delivered keynote addresses before the U.S. Military Academy, the National Prayer Breakfast, and diverse audiences across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Dr. Shah was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He has served as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, been named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40, and has received multiple honorary degrees.
He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Shivam Mallick Shah and three children and has given up mountain climbing for family bicycle rides.
I must admit that it’s daunting to speak before religious scholars, and organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, St. Egidio, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. I feel like the man who was asked to speak about Whale Anatomy, and as he looks into the audience, he sees Jonah.
The task is made less daunting by the recognition that Pope John’s 23rd encyclical is accessible throughout five decades. In the 1960’s, it’s accessible during nuclear disarmament and an end to the arms race, as well as decolonization and an end to the caste system dividing nations. It can be applied to the 1970’s, as we witnessed gender equality and women’s empowerment on the rise, and an end to racial and ethnic prejudice and discrimination. We can look to it as we committed to treatises on the inter-connection of global human rights and peace in the 1980’s. And in the 1990’s, it’s useful at the need to ensure that growing science and technology is pursued not as a goal of its own but as a means toward the betterment of mankind. More recently, perhaps not surprising given my position as USAID’s Deputy Administrator, it is a strong endorsement of foreign assistance as a means of building peaceful, stable societies. It may sound self-serving since my agency’s budget is going to the Hill tomorrow, but paragraph 88 reminds us:
Since 1954, we have helped feed a billion people in over 150 countries. Initially, it was an act with no apparent downside. Our farmers had an outlet for their surplus food. Our ocean carriers filled their vessels with food aid. And vulnerable people halfway around the world received their next meal.
But over the last 60 years, the world has changed. Today, agriculture is the second most productive aspect of the American economy, and we just experienced the strongest four years in history for agricultural trade. Between now and 2050, demand for food will be so strong that agricultural production will have to grow 60 percent just to keep up. Rather than surpluses, we talk of shortages. And as a result, the cost of doing business has grown by 200 percent—eroding our humanitarian reach and impact.
Thank you. It is really special to have the opportunity to be here, and I just want to say thank you very much.
And I do want to note that it is very special for me to get to be hosted by Senator Boozman here in his home state. He has been obviously a dedicated public servant and I think everyone here knows about his tremendous accomplishments on behalf of the state. What you might not know as much about is the fact that he chairs the Malaria Caucus and the Hunger Caucus, and that he fights really hard on issues that maybe have not traditionally been seen as particularly rewarding to spend time on from a political perspective because he brings such personal passion and commitment to the work, and I have had a chance to see that leadership in action in Washington.
HÀ NỘI, ngày 3/4/2013 -- Tôi vui mừng được tham gia cùng quý vị trong buổi khai mạc hội nghị quan trọng này về phối hợp áp dụng phương thức tiếp cận Một Sức khoẻ. Việt Nam đang thể hiện vai trò đi đầu trong lĩnh vực này và Hoa Kỳ rất vui mừng cộng tác với Việt Nam trong việc phát hiện và kiểm soát có hiệu quả các bệnh truyền nhiễm trước khi các bệnh đó ảnh hưởng đến sức khoẻ và sinh kế của người dân Việt Nam và thế giới.
HANOI, April 3, 2013 -- It is my pleasure to join you in opening this important conference on One Health coordination. Vietnam is showing leadership in this area and the United States is very pleased to partner with Vietnam to effectively detect and control infectious diseases, before they damage the health and livelihoods of the people of Vietnam and the world.
It's a great honor to moderate this panel on the Framework and Priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. I wanted to take a few moments at the start to introduce the panel and the panelists. We will be looking back over changes since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, looking forward to the post-2015 goals, and even looking inward as we consider how we as governments, international organizations, civil society, and private companies can play our full and proper roles in this exercise.
I am so pleased to see the young people gathered here today. Your generation is particularly important to the cause we are here to discuss. It is a pleasure to join you today to commemorate World TB Day and emphasize this year's theme of stopping TB in our lifetime. A lifetime may seem long, but TB involves complex challenges and a lot of work.
About a year and a half ago, I traveled with Dr. Jill Biden and Dr. Bill Frist to the world’s largest refugee camp, 50 miles from the Somali border. In a camp originally built for one-fifth its capacity, I met mothers who had carried their children for weeks across famine-stricken lands and terrorist-held territories.
The famine had proven once again the power of extreme poverty, extreme climate, and extreme ideology to undermine security and create a moral catastrophe. About three weeks ago, I returned to the region and saw a very different picture.
Last updated: March 26, 2015