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.
Feed the Future, a presidential initiative designed to reverse global hunger trends, is a whole-of-government approach aligning our resources with country-owned strategic plans to transform agricultural development and, ultimately, spur economic growth. It is part of a collaborative global effort to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
The U.S. higher education community is helping us make this happen.
Feed the Future aims to significantly reduce poverty and improve nutrition by harnessing the power of agriculture to increase the incomes of poor rural people, expanding opportunities for smallholder farmers and rural businesses throughout the value chain, and increasing the productivity and quality of food that poor people eat.
The United States is proud to be a part of this broad international effort to combat hunger and spur economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries. The collaborative global effort is centered on country-owned processes and plans that implement a common approach to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
President Obama pledged to spend at least $3.5 billion over three years on agriculture-led development – a more than doubling of our recent spending in this area. The United States is well on its way to achieving that financial commitment with an approved FY 2010 budget of $888 million that focuses investments in agricultural development and nutrition. Feed the Future, which is the U.S. Government’s contribution to the global effort, prioritizes investments in game-changing innovations and research, host country capacity, and strong mechanisms to hold both ourselves and our partners accountable for achieving sustainable outcomes in food security.
MR. CHANG: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for coming. Thanks for waiting. I want to kick off this briefing on tomorrow's expos as St. Xavier College. Briefing you tonight on the agriculture and food security expo will be Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Raj Shah. And after that, to brief you on the Expo For Democracy and Open Government, our Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Samantha Power, and Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.
My name is Sarah Mendelson and I am the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. I want to thank USIP for the leadership they are showing on 1325 and to thank my colleagues at USAID as well. We have many people in this agency and in this administration that have a long standing commitment to this issue.
Secretary Clinton has laid out in her October 16th speech why this is so critical to the United States and the value of women's participation in advancing peace and security.
I’d like to thank Ambassador Quinn and the organizers of the World Food Prize for inviting me to speak today. I’ve been to this event for a few years now, and every year it seems its enthusiasm and exposure grows.
I think it’s telling that after years of travelling around the world, the first time I run into Kofi Annan in an airport is in Des Moines.
I also want to thank two pillars of Iowa politics and the world of Agriculture, Secretary Vilsack and Senator Harkin, for their mentorship, leadership and advocacy of our cause.
I. INTRODUCTION – A GROWING COMMUNITY
I want to thank Columbia Business School for inviting me here to speak today. As a Wharton grad, it’s nice to know I’m welcome here. Thank you to Professor Ray Fisman [Director, Social Enterprise Program, Columbia Business School], and to your conference organizers, Daniel and Lucia [Class of 2011] for inviting me to close this important conference.
I really appreciate the chance to address this audience, one filled with students and social entrepreneurs, both poised and eager to address the world’s inequities.
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks for waiting for a few minutes. We’d like to thank the Foreign Press Center and the U.S. Mission to the UN for hosting us this afternoon. We have a very interesting briefing for you today, and we have five distinguished U.S. officials to discuss with you the U.S. approach to the Millennium Development Goals, the President’s new policy on development, and the speech that he just gave earlier today before the UN General Assembly.
Other participants in the panel:
Last updated: February 19, 2015