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.
On behalf of USAID, it is my great pleasure to join you today for this special event, as we complete the handover of critical medical equipment to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope. I would like to thank our colleagues at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope for organizing today’s event. I would also like to thank our colleagues from the Ministry of Health and the Australian Embassy for joining us as well as commend their combined efforts to improve women’s health in Cambodia.
When the Sihanouk Hospital requested USAID assistance to procure equipment to open a Women’s Health Clinic, we recognized the opportunity to contribute toward improving women’s health in Cambodia. The Sihanouk Hospital provides free medical care to Cambodians who have no other options for care. It is a critical and exemplary mission. To date, the hospital has provided more than one million free patient consultations.
It is an honor for me to represent the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) commitment to fight Neglected Tropical Diseases at this important national symposium appropriately themed “End the neglect, Integrate, Scale-up, and Sustain.”
This past weekend, I attended the Nutrition for Growth Summit in London, where you could literally feel the energy that exists for accelerated action on nutrition. For perhaps the first time, it was clear that the prevailing question was not whether we can end hunger or even whether we will. It was how fast we can achieve it.
Today’s discussion is one of the most important we can have—bringing the world’s experts together in a room to ask, “What don’t we know?” “Why” and “What can we do about it?” These evidence summits were started more than two years ago. At the time, we had just recently rebuilt our Agency’s policy capacity—and we envisioned these summits as opportunities for scholars and development professionals to put their heads together to ensure that state-of-the-art research and evaluations informed our work every day.
I would like to thank the Honorable Minister Bathabile Dlamini for the opportunity to participate in this important conference and to highlight how essential it is for children and youth who are affected by HIV and AIDS to continue being a priority in our efforts to mitigate the effects of HIV and AIDS. The U.S. Government and the American people, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (or PEPFAR), are proud to be in partnership with the Department of Social Development in supporting this groundbreaking conference. We believe in the power of partnership and this conference has been a true partnership.
No generation is spared the catastrophic consequences of the AIDS pandemic. From newborn babies of HIV-positive mothers to elderly caregivers, the disease does not discriminate. One of the most tragic consequences is the toll on our children.
Every year, this event brings together the world’s champions in food security. I look around the room and see nutrition experts, food scientists, and humanitarian leaders. I see advocates from both sides of the aisle who recognize that the face of hunger is not a partisan issue, but a moral one—and one of great importance to our shared security and prosperity. Looking around the room, it is clear we have the expertise, tools, and new approaches to end hunger.
Most importantly, it’s clear we have the leadership.
Over the last three years, under the personal and committed leadership of President Obama, Feed the Future has worked to translate a global vision of food security into sustainable impact that are lifting millions of people from poverty and giving them a foothold in the global economy. For generations, this aspiration—of a world without hunger—has guided American engagement in development.
USAID is supportive of the goals of IHP+, and we welcome opportunities to collaborate more effectively with countries and development partners in accelerating progress toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals. USAID is delighted to sign the IHP+ Global Compact for a variety of reasons.
It is also my honor to be here today because your education represents something unique in our world. Even since the giants of industry—Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon—first established their footprints here in Pittsburgh, this city has served at the frontier of American innovation and philanthropy—proving what is possible when you apply both your heart and your mind.
With backgrounds as diverse as engineering and history, Heinz scholars learn to apply these principles to their own work—bringing analytic rigor to public policy and compassion to analytics. It is here—at what Steve Jobs called the intersection of technology and liberal arts—that ideas gain influence and action has real meaning.
It is a great honor to participate in the fortieth anniversary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) policy fellowship program. I’d like to begin by thanking Alan Leshner, Cynthia Robinson, and their colleagues in the diplomacy security and development program for partnering with USAID, and to Alex Dehgan for his superb leadership in the science and technology arena at USAID. And I’ll extend a particularly warm welcome to all of our current and former USAID AAAS fellows, who have enriched our Agency.
Good afternoon! I am really excited to be here today. Indeed, from the day that Tom first shared with me an early draft, I have been waiting impatiently for this book to be published. And now that the day has come, I must start by congratulating the authors – both Tom and Diane, and note how pleased I am to see such a crowded room for this launch.
Last updated: August 04, 2014