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.
Good morning. It is a great pleasure for me to be here today and to extend a warm welcome to everyone in this Regional Policy Dialogue. I wish to thank the ASEAN SME Working Group as well as the US-ASEAN Business Council for their support in organizing this meeting. I would also like to thank the speakers and resource persons from the public and private sectors and from international organizations for their participation today. They are giving their valuable time to share their rich experiences, good practices, and successes in the area of women’s economic empowerment to help us recommend a strong agenda for ASEAN in the future.
It is great source of pride for me to be here and mark two decades of close cooperation between the United States Government and the Government of Ethiopia through the Ministry of Education and my agency, USAID. This collaboration to improve education quality and equitable access to learning have resulted in many more children in school, far fewer dropping out, improved student learning, and, very importantly, more girls in primary schools. So let me begin with congratulations to all of you and your predecessors on this very measurable progress.
Today, OTI’s legacy of success now stretches through 60 countries across the globe: From communities in Colombia free of the devastation of illicit drug trafficking… …To rural clinics in Rwanda saving thousands of children from malaria and malnutrition… …To vibrant schools in Indonesia, where a new generation of entrepreneurs, doctors, and engineers are preparing to lead their country towards a more prosperous tomorrow, for all of their citizens.
Wildlife trafficking undermines security and funds criminal networks. It seriously challenges national development by undermining economic growth and corroding the rule of law. Reductions in biodiversity have longer term consequences for development.
Buôn bán động vật hoang dã làm suy yếu an ninh và cung cấp tài chính cho các mạng lưới tội phạm. Hoạt động này đặt ra thách thức nghiêm trọng với phát triển quốc gia bằng cách làm suy yếu tăng trưởng kinh tế và làm xói mòn nền pháp quyền. Suy giảm đa dạng sinh học sẽ có tác động lâu dài đối với phát triển.
Of the many challenges we face as a global community – and there are many – health crises constitute among the most serious. Today, the headlines tell us of the toll that Ebola has taken in West Africa. Not long ago the world faced repeated outbreaks of SARS, multiple influenzas, not to mention the continued threat posed by HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, measles – I could go on. But I won’t. What I do want to point out is that our single greatest defense against these threats is our health workers. These men and women fight on the front lines every day at great risk to themselves to protect us. Helping them to become a coordinated, disciplined, qualified, and effective fighting force is what this gathering is all about.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Bangkok for the Asia Urban Futures Workshop. I’d like to start by giving special thanks to our partners at UNDP, UN Habitat and UN Global Pulse, as well as to the USAID staff in Bangkok and Washington’s Global Development Lab who all worked so hard to make this Conference a reality. They’ve brought together two groups of key people who don’t get a chance to talk with one another as much as they might: first, outstanding experts from the technology and development fields; and second, city leaders and planners. I’m sure both will learn much from one another over the next couple of days about dealing with the challenges and opportunities with a rapidly urbanizing Asia.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the first global comprehensive international instrument that protects and advances the rights of persons with disabilities, and it represents an important opportunity for Vietnam to express a united commitment to rights as it completes its first year as a member of the UN Human Rights Council. That opportunity was highlighted in the visits last spring by Senator Patrick Leahy and Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judy Heumann, who play important roles in our bilateral cooperation.
I am profoundly honored by the invitation from the Embassy of Finland to make some remarks this morning at this roundtable. I would also like to thank Madame Ambassador Sirpa Mäenpää, USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller and colleagues Michelle Chen and Demissie Legesse for making my participation possible. And it would be remiss of me not to thank my friend and comrade, Kalle Könkköllä.
Today’s ceremony is a testament to the resiliency and courage of those who refuse to allow crisis to deter them from the path of progress. In times of crisis, despite the danger and hardships, there is also great opportunity for communities to grow together and build back better.
Last updated: March 26, 2015