Shah Second Speaker in 'Food for Thought' Series

Rajiv Shah is the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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Rajiv Shah is the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas continues its “Food for Thought” lecture series next week with Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, as the featured speaker.

The lecture, titled “Partnering with the Private Sector: A New Model of Development,” is set for 11:50 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9, in the first-floor auditorium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development on campus. The Bumpers College is partnering with the Sam M. Walton College of Business to host the event. The open forum discussion is open to all students. Shah will make a brief presentation before opening up the floor to questions and interaction with students.

The messages in the “Food for Thought” series focus on food, family and the environment, which corresponds with the goal of the Bumpers College to advance the business of foods and the impact of foods on human health, environmental sustainability and human quality of life.

“The Bumpers College is proud and excited to host Administrator Shah on campus for our second ‘Food for Thought’ honors program lecture,” said Mike Vayda, dean of the Bumpers College. “Dr. Shah and USAID play key roles in advancing issues and policy pertaining to food, family and the environment. Our students and faculty work every day to improve the lives of Arkansans, our neighbors across the country and globally. This is a great opportunity to hear from a key policy maker.”

Shah had originally been scheduled to speak at the inaugural “Food for Thought” event in spring before being recalled to Washington for consultations.

Shah was sworn in on Dec. 31, 2009, and is the 16th administrator of USAID. He leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.

"We are delighted to be co-hosting this lecture by Dr. Shah with our colleagues from the Bumpers College and to have the opportunity for our faculty and students to hear directly from such a distinguished policymaker,” said Eli Jones, dean of the Walton College. “This lecture demonstrates the partnership mentality the Walton College has and the strides we are making in becoming a leader in global business education.”

Shah managed the U.S. government’s response to the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; co-chaired the State Department’s first review of American diplomacy and development operations; and is leading President Obama’s “Feed the Future” food security initiative. He is also leading “USAID Forward,” an extensive set of reforms to USAID’s business model around seven key areas, including procurement, science and technology, and monitoring and evaluation.

Prior to his appointment as administrator, Shah was undersecretary for research, education and economics as a chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which increased the status and funding of agriculture research.

Before joining the Obama administration, Shah worked for seven years with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, including as director of agriculture development in the Global Development Program and as director of strategic opportunities.

The Detroit native graduated from the University of Michigan, attended the London School of Economics, earned his master’s degree in health economics from the Wharton School of Business and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Bumpers College


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