U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah will speak about how FIU can help drive the agency’s priorities globally in an address titled, “Students and Universities: Leading the Future of Development.” The free lecture will take place Friday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m. in the School of International and Public Affairs auditorium, Room 125.
Shah is the 16th administrator of USAID and a driving force in the entity’s reorganization. He leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.
USAID carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress while expanding stable, free societies, creating markets and trade partners for the United States, and fostering goodwill abroad. FIU is one of the agency’s largest university partners. Their funding has made possible much of the university’s critical work abroad such as reducing the impacts of disasters, advancing water sustainability around the world and reforming justice systems across the Americas.
Since being sworn in on Dec. 31, 2009, Shah has managed the U.S. government’s response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and co-chaired the State Department’s first review of American diplomacy and development operations. He is currently leading President Barack Obama’s “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 and technology, and monitoring and evaluation.
Before becoming the agency’s administrator, Shah served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as chief scientist and as undersecretary for research, education and economics. 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 spent 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.
A Detroit native, Shah earned a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and a 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.