Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (2010-2015); Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist, United States Department of Agriculture (2009-2010); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2001-2009)
Rajiv Shah, M.D.
About the Speaker
As administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 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 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 brought together an increasingly diverse community—from large companies to local civil society groups to communities of faith—to deliver meaningful results.
Shah led President Obama’s landmark Feed the Future and Power Africa initiatives and refocused America’s global health partnerships to end preventable child death. Feed the Future, alone, 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 worked to forge a more strategic relationship between private capital and development.
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,” 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 previously served on the boards of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as participated on the National Security Council.
Previously, 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. 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.
Currently, Dr. Shah leads cutting-edge work as president of The Rockefeller Foundation, a global leader of innovative philanthropy at the forefront of providing solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. He was unanimously chosen for this role in 2017.
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.