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.
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.
The findings of the “Women and the Web” study, commissioned by Intel in collaboration with the U.S. Government, show that we have an enormous opportunity to realize economic growth and productivity in African countries by closing the gender gap that currently exists in accessing the Internet.
It’s tough to look around the world today and think about achieving great moral aspirations that we set for ourselves—like ending extreme poverty—when we face unprecedented and immediate humanitarian challenges, from West Africa to Syria to Iraq. The truth is that the poverty, instability, and the sheer human need we are witnessing today challenge us to bring greater—not less—commitment to this mission.
Greetings to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub. I would like to welcome all of our callers who have dialed in from across Africa. Today, we are joined by USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, Earl Gast and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Florie Liser. They are speaking to us from Washington D.C. We will begin with remarks from Assistant Administrator Gast, followed by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Liser, and then we will open it up to your questions
Good morning everyone. I see that most, if not all prosecutors from BiH Prosecutor’s Offices, have come to this conference. This is very encouraging since the topics you will discuss today are critical in reducing corruption, political patronage and crime; all three cited as the key problems facing the citizens.
As we know recurrent crises affect countries around the world, and last year alone killed more than 20,000 people. Today we are focusing on Asia, and I will briefly provide some relevant data points to help set the stage for our discussion. First, in Bangladesh, rising sea levels threaten to drown one-fifth of the country’s landmass, where 18 million people now reside. In Nepal, over 2 million live on potentially hazardous fault lines, where earthquakes could cause severe damage. According to the World Bank, $1 out of $3 dollars in development funding is lost as a result of recurrent crises, totaling $3.8 trillion over the last 30 years.
Last updated: March 26, 2015