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Hillary calls USAID chief Shah a transformational leader

Last Updated: Friday, January 8, 2010 - 10:28

Washington: Rajiv Shah has been officially
sworn in on Friday as the administrator of US Aid for
International Development (USAID), making him the highest
ranking person of Indian origin in any presidential

The 39-year-old Indian-American was sowrn in today by
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the chief of USAID which
oversees disbursal of USD 40 billion US foreign aid programme.

In this position, Shah would be leading the Obama
Administration`s effort of non-military aid to foreign
countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"I believe Dr Raj Shah will be the transformational
leader that USAID has been waiting for," Clinton said at the
swearing in ceremony of Shah as chief of the USAID.

"One only needs to ask his wife Shivam the lengths to
which Raj will go to achieve important goals. After all, this
is a man who flew to India for one day to propose to her at
the Taj Mahal when she was traveling there alone," Clinton
said while giving a few insider details about the man.

"This is also a man who summated the 14,400-foot Mount
Rainier, one of the most difficult climbs in the continental
United States. It combines the challenges of an unforgiving
glacier with the unpredictability of an active volcano. That
may be the best preparation Raj has for working in Washington
these days," she said.

"So he brings determination and an unwavering belief
that anything is possible. Yet he also brings the humility and
quiet confidence instilled by his family.

"He also carries with him the enduring images of his
first trip to India as a boy with his parents, both immigrants
from that country, where he saw that nation`s rich history and
diversity, but also saw human suffering on a scale that
inspired him to action then and continues to inspire him now,"
Clinton said.

The Secretary of State said that the new USAID
administrator brings a wealth of experiences ? a degree in
medicine, a degree in business, his tenure at the Gates
Foundation, at USDA.

"He did groundbreaking work in each place along the
way, helping to transform the global system of vaccine
financing," she said.

"And he has the support of those who have worked with
him along the way. I received a 10-page, single-spaced, typed
list of people who were willing to go to bat for Raj in the
Senate with respect to confirmation names of giants in the
field of not only development, but diplomacy, public service,
the private sector, the foundation world, here at home and
internationally as well," Clinton said.

The Obama Administration had to wait for nearly a year
to get the right person for this one of the most prestigious
job of the US foreign policy.

"I know it`s been a long wait to have a new
Administrator named, and it took even longer to get him
confirmed and sworn in, but it has been worth the wait,
because in Dr Raj Shah, we have a passionate, visionary,
experienced development expert at the helm.

"And I am so thrilled that he will provide the
leadership that is needed today as we not only work in
partnership on so many of the issues that we care deeply
about, but that we continue to elevate the role of development
in our foreign policy," Clinton said.


First Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 - 10:28
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