Neilesh Shelat

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Portrait of Neilesh Shelat
Deputy Assistant to the Administrator

Neilesh Shelat is the Deputy Assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), the U.S. Government lead for international disaster response. With a mandate to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the impact of disasters, BHA monitors, mitigates, and responds to global hazards and humanitarian needs. The Bureau also promotes resilience by preparing communities for disasters before they strike, and by helping people recover and move beyond crises. 

Prior to BHA, Mr. Shelat worked in the technology industry focused on data access, misinformation, and media influence related to COVID-19, and in support of U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

Within USAID, he served as the Agency’s Executive Secretary, Senior Advisor for National Security Affairs, and Defeating-ISIS Coordinator.  As a Director at the National Security Council, he worked on food security programming, security sector assistance, climate change, and stability programming in Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia.  Mr. Shelat served as a Senior Stabilization Advisor to the USAID Mission in Erbil, Iraq, and deployed to northeast Syria to manage stabilization assistance and the restoration of essential services in areas liberated from ISIS.  Mr. Shelat also conducted five tours to Afghanistan, working on USAID efforts across the U.S. Government, as well as with NATO and Afghan military forces.

Prior to USAID, Mr. Shelat worked at private-sector organizations and NGOs focused on health systems strengthening, and on counter-trafficking efforts of marginalized communities in Chennai, India. He also led relief efforts in two coastal villages in India following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  He began his international development career as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Kiribati.

Mr. Shelat received his Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master’s degree from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Last updated: January 27, 2021

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