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.
LISA CARTY: Welcome. Very glad to have you all here today. My name is Lisa Carty. I'm the deputy director of the Global Health Policy Center here at CSIS. We're very glad that you could join us for what promises to be a very exciting event in our ongoing Statesmen's series of speakers. A particular welcome to Dr. Shah and also to his staff that have joined him today. I'd also like to welcome our several hundred guests who are joining us online. And most particularly, I'd like to bring you all, but particularly Dr.
Thank you, Judge Marvin Kaminetz for that introduction, and thank you to Sean Penn for being here tonight and sharing such heartfelt remarks.
JAMES BEVER: Good morning, everybody. My name is Jim Bever. I'm the director for USAID's task force on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Welcome to the Ronald Reagan Building. Welcome to the home of USAID and welcome all our distinguished guests.
I will do a short introduction right now for Dr. Raj Shah, the administrator of USAID. We're just absolutely excited, so excited that he has come to AID and so pleased that Secretary Vilsack, secretary of Agriculture, was willing to let him go in January to join as the leader of USAID.
So that’s my reform agenda for high impact development. Taken together, I very much hope that these reforms will mark the most significant operational improvements to our nation’s development agency since President Kennedy announced the creation of USAID almost 50 years ago. Our anniversary is next fall, so we’re working against that timeline. And really a more efficient, results-oriented agency is needed now more than ever. In the five decades since our founding, the role of USAID in supporting our national priorities, particularly our national security priorities, has certainly evolved. America’s greatest security challenges are no longer state-based. Extreme poverty compromises basic human dignities, banishes hope for the future, and paves the way for the rise of transnational extremism.
It's an honor to join you here at the Lower Mekong Initiative Infectious Disease Conference and to be able to share the next two days with you.
I want to thank our host - the Vietnamese government and VMOH Dr. Trinh Quan Huan and Ambassador Michalak and the embassy staff for the preparations put into this conference.
USAID has had a more than 50-year history in working in international agricultural research including, helping to establish the consultative group on international agricultural research. Now is such an opportune time to take hold of the opportunities of this new initiative to reshape that system and to reshape our international system to make sure we make all of the technologies available here in the United States and elsewhere around the world accessible and affordable and safe for small farming communities in a way that is respectful and understanding of their specific needs. USDA has had a tremendous history in agricultural research, creating the land grant system in this country in the 1860s and participating with USAID in a long-standing partnership. I want to especially thank Josette Lewis and Rob Bertram from our team at USAID and Roger Beachy and Ann Tutwiler from the team at USDA that have really brought excellence and partnership together to make sure that we can be as supportive as possible of this overall mission.
His Excellency, President Wade,
His Excellency, ECOWAS Commissioner Salifou,
Distinguished members from ECOWAS and the NEPAD community
Ministers from around West Africa,
Partners from Canada, Spain, United Nations and so many wonderful technical leadership organizations;
We know that food aid can save lives but if we are not careful, we also know it can have unintended consequences such as distorting local markets and discouraging local production. In the United States and at USAID we, like you, are taking careful steps to make sure this does not happen. We are expanding the application of independent market analysis as we did in Haiti and as we are doing in eight other countries through what we call our Bellman process to make sure we have methodologies that will protect local producers and local markets in events when outside food assistance and aid is necessary. Although in-kind food assistance will remain the major source of US food aid, we will expand our cash vouchers and grant assistance, especially for local and regional procurement under the emergency food security programme that we launched earlier this year. In 2009 this programme represented about US$95 million of activity for the United States and we expect that to be 300 million in 2011 per this administration's request to Congress.
DR. RAJIV SHAH: Thank you, thanks Sam. I appreciate the chance to be here and it's wonderful to be in a room with so many supporters and partners and likeminded development practitioners, so thank you for that opportunity.
Sam, I want to thank you especially for InterAction's support of our overall agenda and just every step of the way, really pulling together the community to help us learn and really make decisions in a way that does include the input across this broad group of partners.
Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina,
Minister of Agriculture, Begum Matia Chowdhury,
Minister of Food and Disaster Management, Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque
Members of Cabinet and Advisors to the Prime Minister,
Guest speakers, delegates and members of the media, civil society, and private sector organizations;
Assalam-u-Alaikum, and Good Morning.
Last updated: October 14, 2014