NYTimes profile of USAID head Rajiv Shah: Clinton is Shah’s “strongest champion”

A profile in Sunday’s New York Times of USAID chief administrator Rajiv Shah depicts the relationship between Shah and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as one of a complex nature: despite the fact that Shah has had to contend with Clinton’s desire to keep USAID under the State Department’s influence, Clinton has also proven to be “his strongest champion.”

Shah’s efforts have further been endorsed by the White House, which recently issued a development policy that “pledges to restore [USAID] as the premier American aid agency.”

Shah, who is not only the Obama administration’s highest-ranking Indian-American but, according to the Times, has also become very visible as a foreign policy player, has had to tackle a number of difficult tasks since becoming chief administrator in late 2009, including the Haitian earthquakes and the recent floods in Pakistan. Concerning the tests he has yet to face, Richard C. Holbrooke, special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, remarked that Shah has “inherited leadership of an agency that was nearly broken over the last two decades. […] He’s going to be tested like few others are in government.”



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