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.
At USAID, we believe we have the opportunity today build a new, more open model for development that builds on our strong legacy of university engagement to solve some of the greatest development challenges of our time. In food security, that challenge is more pressing than ever. By 2050, the world will need to double agricultural production in order to feed a world of 9 billion people. At the same time, a changing climate will lead to warmer temperatures, more erratic rains, and longer more severe droughts.
Here in Mississippi, you know this better than anyone. The Mississippi river has fallen to near record lows—and a stretch of the mighty river near Greenville has had to close briefly. And rural communities across the country continue to feel pressure from a parched land. But the truth is that our nation has some remarkable systems in place to support farmers and ranchers in a time of significant drought. They can buy insurance products, access our government’s real-time data monitoring, and count on the USDA and universities like MSU to study the problem and foster new solutions.
The United States, President Obama and Secretary Clinton, have been very clear that we are calling on the Assad regime to end its brutal treatment and attacks on its own people. And President Obama has also asked us, the United States, to do everything we can to support the critical humanitarian needs that are in this region.
That's why we've already provided more than $82 million of support for humanitarian priorities, reaching more than 700,000 Syrians with food, water and medical support. And that's why, today, I'm quite pleased to announce an additional $21 million commitment. In this case to our colleagues at the World Food Programme, who are taking responsibility for providing effective food access to people who are in dire need, here in this camp, throughout parts of Syria and in other parts of the region.
VINH PHUC, Vietnam -- USAID is pleased to sponsor this set of two workshops this week to give Vietnam National Assembly members and staff the chance to hear first-hand reports from Vietnam's trade negotiators on the progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and to hear from experts in law, economics, and business as they share their insights on the challenges and opportunities that the TPP represents for Vietnam.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to join you today at this workshop on the role of the National Assembly in Vietnam's budget decision-making and oversight. This workshop and other support we are providing to the Institute of Legislative Studies recognizes that the National Assembly Standing Committee, in 2008, established the ILS as the leading center of research, information and policy analysis for the National Assembly.
HEEAP is focused on improving the quality of Vietnam's engineering education and supporting the country's growing high-tech industry. USAID is pleased to collaborate with academia and private sector partners to assist Vietnam in addressing higher education needs as Vietnam enters a new phase of economic development. To date, over 100 professors have attended training sessions at Arizona State University where they received training on cutting-edge curricula development and teaching methods.
Sáng nay, chúng ta chào mừng một cột mốc lịch sử đối với quan hệ song phương giữa hai nước.
This morning we celebrate a historic milestone for our bilateral relationship. Today's ceremony marks the start of a project between Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, to clean up dioxin contaminated soil and sediment at the airport left from the Vietnam War. Over the next few years, workers will dig up the contaminated soil and sediment and place it in a stockpile, where it will be treated using thermal desorption technology. This process uses high temperatures to break down the dioxin in the contaminated soil and make it safe by Vietnamese and U.S. standards for the many men, women, and children who live and work in this area.
The United States is gravely concerned by the multiple crises that are affecting the people of Mali: a political crisis following the military coup d’état of March 21, a security crisis as a result of conflict in the North and the actions of several armed groups, a food security crisis affecting populations across the country, all resulting in a complex humanitarian crisis that is affecting the people of Mali as well as its neighbors in the Sahel. 4.6 million Malians face severe hunger; 175,000 Malian children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition; and more than 450,000 have fled their homes because of ongoing violence coupled with food insecurity.
Many of us in this room and thousands of other across the globe have and continue to spend tremendous energy on improving our effectiveness in development. We choose smarter things to do, focusing on key competencies and appropriate roles. We measure relentlessly, inviting cold hard facts to challenge our warm, fuzzy assumptions. We have become hard-nosed in pursuit of our soft goals, and, when doing so, we have often invoked the ideal of 'How They Do It In The Private Sector.' ... Perhaps we need to explore how we could use an open source development model to connect our work to all people. Perhaps to genuinely win the war against extreme poverty, leverage social networks to deliver real democracy, and ensure every kid everywhere lives to see their fifth birthday and thrives in school in the years ahead, we need to both elevate development in the Situation Room of the National Security Council and in the hearts and minds of how millions of additional people express their own personal quest for meaning.
It is an incredible honor to be here and to be here with so many members of Diaspora communities from around this country and around the world. I’m one of you, and so, I’m pleased to be able to join. In fact, joining you last year and hearing about the businesses you’ve started, the volunteer programs you’ve supported, the innovations you’ve generated and the resources and inspiration that you’ve offered to your original home communities was one of my more personal and inspiring moments of the year. So, thank you for allowing me to participate.
Today, more than 62 million Americans, a full fifth of this nation are first or second generation Diaspora community members. That undoubtedly is what makes our country great. We all collectively represent a vast and diverse community, and we do so much both here and with our home communities and the countries from which we came that we’re excited to now have the opportunity to partner more deeply together to improve on the results we can accomplish when we do work together.
Last updated: March 26, 2015