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USAID chief Rajiv Shah to visit campus

by Cindy Hess, communications and marketing last modified Sep 11, 2013 04:57 PM

Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will speak Sept. 20 at the University of Louisville.

His free, public talk, “Ending Extreme Poverty through Innovation and Partnerships,” is part of the McConnell Center’s distinguished speaker series and will begin at noon in Bigelow Hall, Miller Information Technology Center, on UofL’s Belknap Campus.

USAID, created in 1961, is the U.S. government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. It operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

Shah, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary of research, education and economics, assumed the top job at USAID days before the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He led the agency’s efforts to clear away rubble, deliver vaccines and provide safe housing in the disaster’s aftermath.

More recently, his agency has played a pivotal role in helping Syrian refugees by providing food assistance and other humanitarian support.

Under his leadership, USAID has launched several public-private partnerships, including a joint campaign with MTV in Asia to end human trafficking and the creation of New Alliance, a group of 45 companies that has pledged $3.5 billion toward food assistance in Africa.

In November, USAID announced plans to build the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a $130 million partnership with universities to design innovative, low-cost approaches to improving health and reducing poverty and conflicts.

Shah holds a doctorate in medicine and a master’s degree in health economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the U.S. government, he worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was a health care policy adviser for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Tickets for his talk are available at the McConnell Center.

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