Presented by MIT150, MIT D-Lab, the MIT Energy Initiative, and the MIT Public Service
moderated by Rob Stoner, Associate Director, MIT Energy Initiative
April 5 at 3:00pm
Dr. Rajiv Shah was sworn in as the 16th Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on December 31, 2009. USAID, a U.S. Government agency, has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for almost 50 years. Under Dr Shah’s leadership USAID has launched its Grand Challenges for Development to focus global attention on specific development outcomes based on transformational, scalable, and sustainable change. The philosophy behind using Grand Challenges for Development is that defining the problem well and facilitating innovative approaches will encourage a wide array of solvers to focus their attention on developing sustainable, effective solutions. Central to this strategy is a recognition that science, technology and innovation are essential to solving today’s most pressing development issues and are critical drivers of economic growth around the globe – accompanied by a commitment to reshape the agency with scientific and technical competencies at its core.
Prior to joining USAID, Dr Shah served as Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and as Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a new scientific institute that elevated the status and funding of agricultural research to be more in line with other major scientific groups. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Shah served as director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2001, Shah was the health care policy advisor on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and a member of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's transition committee on health.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business. He has attended the London School of Economics and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.