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.
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.
OPERATOR: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. During the question-and-answer session, please press *1 on your touchtone phone. Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.
I now turn today's meeting over to Mr. Mark Toner. You may now begin, sir.
Thank you for the invitation to speak today on this important topic. I am speaking on behalf of many colleagues who have labored far longer and harder than I within USAID and the USG more broadly to develop useful and accessible information sources, and I'd like to acknowledge their efforts, which are often unsung. I have certainly been impressed, since joining USAID earlier this year, with the effort that in-house experts, as well as staff at sister agencies, are putting into information-sharing.
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Thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me to join this panel to discuss the inescapable links between food security, nutrition and HIV/AIDS: three of the top development priorities of the United States Government. Our major presidential initiatives – the PEPFAR, the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future – are all working on these urgent priorities.
Last updated: March 26, 2015