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.
MR. TONER: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the State Department. It's our good fortune today to have with Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, Eric Schwartz and the U.S. Agency for International Development, Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg. They've just returned from a weeklong trip to Tunisia and Egypt and are here to brief you on U.S. assistance efforts to address the humanitarian situation resulting from the crisis in Libya.
It's an honor to be here today on this historic 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. For those of us who have spent decades working on issues of women's empowerment and protection in conflict situations and development, these are heady times.
As you all know, in 2009, President Obama launched the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative – now called “Feed the Future” - and pledged at least $3.5 billion for agricultural development and food security between 2010 and 2012. This pledge, in turn, helped leverage more than $18.5 billion from other donors. This initiative renews our commitment to invest in combating the root causes of chronic hunger and poverty. In fact, the United States is more focused today on global food security than at any other time since the earliest days of the Green Revolution. The Feed the Future strategy recognizes that food security is not just about food, but it is also closely linked to economic security, environmental security, and human security.
To me, the NIH represents one of the America's core competitive advantages. Advancing science, technology and innovation aimed directly at improving human welfare. And I believe if we can harness that capability for the poorest communities in the world, we can leave an unparalleled legacy in global health and in global development throughout the upcoming decades. To seize this opportunity, I recognize that we all need to do some things very differently. First, we need to improve the efficiency of our efforts and focus on building, really, country-led health systems instead of donor-driven, disease-control programs. NIH brings great excellence to that and Francis has done wonderful work to highlight the role of NIH fellows in the countries where we work that really demonstrate that core ethic and commitment to local leadership and local ownership of health programs. President Obama's Global Health Initiative is making real progress in this effort, proving that in global health, saving money, driving efficiencies can save more lives.
MS. MILLS: I hope you all enjoyed lunch, and we now have the luxury, the pleasure, and the opportunity of having the USAID Administrator, who has been not only working hard to build the kind of bridges that we need here between State and USAID, but he also has lent us his senior leadership who has been joining us for today and will be joining us tomorrow as well, so we are very grateful for the leadership he has shown.
Earlier this year, we instituted a series of reforms we now call USAID Forward. Thanks to those reforms, our agency is fundamentally changing, becoming more efficient, more effective and more businesslike, freeing our talented staff to achieve great results.
We've embarked on this effort to transform how development is delivered because development is not and cannot be a sideshow. As the president and the secretaries of state, Treasury and defense have all made abundantly clear, development is as critical to our economic prospects and our national security as diplomacy and defense.
That's why our reforms are not simply trying to update the traditional version of an aid agency. Instead, we are seeking to build something greater: a modern development enterprise. Like an enterprise, we are developing and executing more innovative and more focused strategies across each of our areas of excellence.
MR. STEINBERG: Thank you for that welcome and thank you for coming to the program here today. I'm Don Steinberg and it's my pleasure to introduce today's proceedings to mark the release of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Defense Review, or QDDR.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Development. (Laughter.)
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. As you all saw a little bit ago with the Secretary unveiling the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review at a town hall here at the State Department, it kicks off a lengthy process where we will be introducing this very important document that will guide reform here at the State Department and reform of our operations around the world.
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Good morning, everyone. Before beginning this Secretary of State town hall meeting on the QDDR, I would like to ask all of you to rise for a moment in a moment of silence and memory of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who so sadly passed away on Monday evening.
(A moment of silence is observed.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Thank you very much.
Last updated: January 28, 2014