Submitted by Jessica Scott

Administrator Shah took part in the first ever US-India Strategic Dialogue this week. The meeting included a host of senior leaders from both sides.  Dr. Shah discussed development as part of the complex relationship between the two countries.

The final 314 American troops from Operation Unified Response were airlifted from Haiti on Tuesday. Even as troops were being pulled out of the country, they continued to work with USAID and the UN in nine camps housing Haitians who lost their homes.  The Washington Post’s editorial page commemorated the transition with a lead editorial that mentions USAID in connection with the importance of continued U.S. involvement in Haiti’s recovery.  USAID officials who have been leading this effort, including Paul Weisenfeld and Christopher Milligan, attended the World Summit on the Future of Haiti.

The USAID-Funded FIRMS Initiative is helping bridge the gap between Pakistani mango farmers and European consumers.  Pakistan exports a relatively small percentage of its mango production.  Under the FIRMS program, farmers are being trained in the best ways to pick, sort, grade, and package the
delicate fruit for export.  Infrastructure investments in will help ensure that farmers can deliver the fruit to exporters in good condition.

Eighty-six college students in Pakistan have been selected to receive scholarships through USAID’s Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program. The scholarships cover tuition fees, transportation, expenditures, cost of books and lodging. The awardees will complete their education by December 2011.

USAID is funding anti-malaria insecticide treatments for homes in Burkina Faso. The $1.4 million project is expected to cover 25,000 households in the district of Di Bougou.

In a speech at the 2010 Interaction Forum , USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said, “our time and our opportunity to frame what development should be about for the next 50 years . . . is right now.”  In his speech, Dr. Shah also noted that “[President Barack Obama] deeply believes in development…We have a secretary of state who insists that development is a strategic, economic and moral imperative – and it can be all of those things – and that we have a chance right now to elevate development to really stand with diplomacy and defense as a major part of our foreign policy.”