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. Thank you Congressman Ritter for inviting me to participate in the conference. I would also like to congratulate Farid and the I Group on the award it received at this conference. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to address the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber and USAID have shared a common commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan. We have both worked to attract investment, generate employment, and expand market linkages.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Raj, thank you very much. Deputy Administrator Steinberg. I missed Caroline, a great, good friend. I understand she was here earlier.
I want to thank Col Meese for that introduction and for his hospitality today.
Today marks 50 years of USAID working to end poverty worldwide. Thank you to USAID employees, alumni and our government, donor and implementing partners for working to save lives and end poverty. Thank you to Ambassador Booth and our colleagues from the US Embassy and the Peace Corps for your support in accomplishing our shared mission.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be here today -- both to speak about the important work that USAID has done in the last 50 years; and to speak with those of you who are carrying out the agency's singular and vital mission.
Fifty-one years ago, a young man in the midst of a tough presidential campaign described the American nation poised on the edge of a new frontier-a frontier that offered hope, as well as new challenges. As he accepted the Democratic Nomination for the Presidency, Senator John F. Kennedy called on Americans to push past this frontier. He spoke with a conviction that global prosperity and security could be achieved through human progress, and that our future as a nation would be determined by our actions-and good deeds-across the developing world.
Welcome to the celebration of USAID's 50th anniversary and let me the first to wish all of you a happy birthday. It is a great honor as well to be able to introduce our first speaker, Ms. Caroline Kennedy.
It is my honor to represent the United States as we celebrate the launch of an important new program designed to improve the nutrition of women and children in Ethiopia. We are focusing our resources on nutrition because good nutrition is what enables a child to grow, learn, and rise out of poverty. Our new program is called “Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic opportunities,” or ENGINE.
For the vast majority of human history, mankind has been stuck in a trap.
Every time the world economy expanded or technology would progress, populations would increase. Besides an extremely small number of royals and elites, on average, people didn’t become wealthier. Economic growth and development as we understand it today simply didn’t exist.
I came here to share a very brief message, and it's just, "thank you". The work that you do around the world really does represent the very best of American values. You know that -- and of course, so many people here in the community where you reside appreciate that -- but I just wanted to let you know that this Administration appreciates that. Certainly USAID as a partner agency is deeply proud of the longstanding and ever expanding partnership that we have with World Vision.
Last updated: March 26, 2015