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By: Michelle Nguyen

“We did something a bit unusual in Washington; we tried to change,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID, during his talk Thursday at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Since his arrival at USAID in 2009, Shah has overseen numerous structural changes within the department while at the same time witnessing global shifts in indicators of social and physical well-being.

By 2025, the burgeoning global middle class is expected to more than double, growing to over 4 billion new consumers and producers in unexpected places such as Nigeria, Tunisia, Columbia and Cambodia. In order to maintain a dynamic economy, the tremendous changes on the international horizon require domestic adaptations, Shah said.

“As this center of gravity shifts, it will have as great an impact on futures of Fortune 500 companies as it will on the careers of Duke and nearby high school students,” Shah said. Shah presented the 2013 Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture to a full house in Fleishman Commons.

He commended the Research Triangle Park for its continued innovative, entrepreneurial efforts and called for even more participants to “bring American innovation to global development.” Edesia, a start-up company in Rhode Island producing high-energy peanut products for malnourished children, is an example of the growth in this sector of the American economy, he said.

“Today we’re working with companies in Georgia, California, New Jersey and Texas to develop the next generation of scientifically advanced, life-saving food products, creating jobs at home while continuing our nation’s proud history as the world’s humanitarian leader,” he said.

Read more on the Sanford School’s website.

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