Rajiv Shah

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Rajiv Shah
Rajiv Shah official portrait.jpg
Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development
In office
January 7, 2010 – February 19, 2015
Preceded by Alonzo Fulgham (Acting)
Succeeded by Alfonso E. Lenhardt (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1973-03-09) March 9, 1973 (age 43)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Spouse(s) Shivam Mallick Shah
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
London School of Economics
European Institute of Business Administration
University of Pennsylvania
Website Official biography

Rajiv "Raj" Shah (born March 9, 1973) was the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from January 7, 2010 to February 19, 2015. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 24, 2009. In this role, Shah led more than 9,600 professionals in 80 missions around the world, and managed an annual budget of over $22 billion.

During his years at USAID, Shah also led the humanitarian response of the United States to crises such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti,[1] famine in the horn of Africa,[2] and refugees fleeing Syria.[3]

Prior to his appointment at USAID, Shah served as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist on April 17, 2009. Shah's nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on May 12, 2009.

Before serving in this administration, Shah worked in a range of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation including Director of Agricultural Development,[4] Director of Financial Services, leader of the Strategic Opportunities initiative and manager of the Foundation's $1.5 billion commitment to the Vaccine Fund.[5]

After stepping down from USAID in early 2015,[6] Shah joined Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service (SFS) faculty as a Distinguished Fellow.[7] In this role, he works closely with Steven Radelet, director of Georgetown’s Global Human Development Program.[8]


Community Engagement[edit]

Shah was actively engaged in the Seattle community as a trustee of the 54,000-student Seattle Community College District, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Seattle Public Library.[9] Shah co-founded multiple nonprofit organizations including Project Impact for South Asian Americans.[10] Prior to his appointment at USDA, Shah worked in a range of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[11]


January 7, 2010: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the swearing-in ceremony of Shah as new USAID Coordinator, in Washington, DC.

Shah became Administrator of USAID days before the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and led the successful effort to help Haiti recover and rebuild.[1] His crisis management skills and expertise were hailed by many who appreciated his swift and strategic response.[12] In 2012, under Shah's leadership, the agency also played a pivotal role in helping Syrian refugees by providing food assistance and other humanitarian support.[13] Shah oversaw USAID's efforts in numerous other international crises, including the famine in the horn of Africa.[14]

Shah was influential in the development and implementation of Power Africa, an initiative that aims to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.[15] Shah leads the Administration's efforts to change America's food assistance program, including winning new flexibilities in the farm bill that would reach 1 million additional children at no additional cost.[16]


  1. ^ a b Mark Landler (October 23, 2010). "Curing the Ills of America's Top Foreign Aid Agency". The New York Times. p. A6. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kenya: Aid Has Blunted Famine in Horn of Africa, Official Says". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 6, 2011. p. A10. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ "U.S. aid to Syrian refugees reaches $100M". CBS News. Associated Press. September 5, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ Philip Rucker (September 25, 2008). "Aid Plan Aims to Help Poor Farmers Reach Markets". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rajiv-shah/gIQAHB3RAP_topic.html[dead link]
  6. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2014/12/17/usaid-head-raj-shah-to-tell-staff-hes-leaving-which-we-all-knew/
  7. ^ http://www.georgetown.edu/news/rajiv-shah-joins-georgetown-faculty.html
  8. ^ Global Human Development Program
  9. ^ Joel Connelly (May 19, 2009). "Local Obama administration member learns to 'listen' and 'understand'". Seattlepi.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ Aziz Haniffa (February 1, 2013). "'Your president hears you, and values your contributions'". India Abroad. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/20/news/economy/raj_shah_usaid.fortune/index.htm Archived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Walter Pincus (January 25, 2011). "USAID leader outlines his change in strategy". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  13. ^ Deborah Amos (December 3, 2012). "U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles". NPR. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Kenya: Aid Has Blunted Famine in Horn of Africa". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 6, 2011. p. A10. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Nicholas Kulish; Michael D. Shear (July 2, 2013). "In Tanzania, Obama Calls for a Partnership With Africa to Aid Its Economy". The New York Times. p. A7. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ John Kerry; Tom Vilsack; Rajiv Shah (May 9, 2013). "Food aid for the 21st century". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Rajiv Shah at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Alonzo Fulgham
Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development
Succeeded by
Alfonso E. Lenhardt