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.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your leadership in bringing us together today to address the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. Your attention and concern is critical.
The drought in the Horn is the worst in 60 years and it is now affecting 12.5 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. It's both a humanitarian and a security crisis, as famine has been declared in parts of southern Somalia and refugees are pouring across borders into drought-stressed areas of Kenya and Ethiopia.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is proud to use its efforts to promote global development in support of this President's new strategy to combat transnational crime. This past September, President Obama announced the first-ever Presidential Policy Directive on development at the United Nations. This forward-looking policy statement makes clear that international development is in our national interest.
MODERATOR: (In progress) Raj Shah. I would like to offer the floor to Dr. Shah.
MS. NULAND: Good morning, everybody. As you know, this Saturday, July 9th, the Republic of South Sudan will celebrate a ceremony to mark its independence, culminating a six-year peace process. The U.S. presidential delegation to the ceremony will be led by our Ambassador to the United Nations, the Honorable Susan Rice. And the delegation will travel to Juba to attend this historic event today. We are very pleased this morning to have Ambassador Rice as well as several members of the delegation to talk to you about this trip.
I would like to thank Nancy Lindborg, Dina Esposito and Jon Brause for their efforts in organizing this important conference and administering the Food for Peace programs.
Thanks also go to Julie Howard and Tjada McKenna for their leadership of our new Bureau for Food Security and all their work in advancing the goals of Feed the Future.
This week is a very important week for the United States Government in both honoring Presidents Kufuor and Lula and in taking forward the United States Feed the Future Initiative, an interagency initiative led by Secretary Clinton, which includes all parts of the U.S. Government that have come together to reassert our leadership on food security and global hunger in a way that we hope lives up to the legacy and the demands of Dr. Norman Borlaug. During this week, we will have a consultation to get input and guidance from research institutions and universities from across this country, which will build on an e-consultation we've already done to hear, and we've had more than 2,000 comments come in on how we should prioritize our investments in agricultural research, science, and technology for the purpose of alleviating hunger and global poverty.
The defining story of the Arab Spring belongs to Mohammed Bouazizi, the young Tunisian fruit seller who set himself on fire, in protest of the humiliation he had received at the hands of local police.
In one act of desperation-a figurative explosion made literal-he reminded us that deep within every soul lies a desire for self-determination and its ensuing dignity. And he began a chain reaction that has changed the world we know.
But you know, the work we do in global development is at a really special and unique time. We've never had the chances that we have today to bring together the technologies, the innovations, the partnerships and the solutions that now exist to tackle extreme hunger, extreme poverty, the lack of health opportunity that exists for hundreds of millions of people around the world, and to do so in a manner that generates really specific results.
In that sense, the meeting that brought us to town, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, is just an absolutely outstanding example of, in my mind, the future of development policy and implementation. GAVI is an alliance that brings together private vaccine manufacturers, private philanthropists and corporate partners, governments from around the world to address a common goal – and that is the goal of making sure that every child everywhere has access to a basic package of life-saving vaccines.
Thank you for inviting me to deliver the keynote address at the Water for People Founders Award ceremony.
Last updated: October 14, 2014