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.
Thank you and good morning, and welcome to USAID for world literacy day. I would like to thank Richard and the entire education team here at USAID for your great leadership and commitment to children around the world. We have a special thank you for representative Lowey that I will save for the conclusion of my remarks because we have with us with today, Washington, probably this country's top single advocate for education around the world, and we're honored to have you with us.
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.
Last updated: March 26, 2015