USAID Chief Lauds Blum Center As Model In Search For Global Solutions

Kathleen Maclay | UC Berkeley News Center | October 11, 2012

The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) got a close up look Wednesday (Oct. 10) at a handful of student innovations to help fight global poverty, illness and strife during a visit to UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies. “I think that what Berkeley does is truly genuinely extraordinary,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah enthusiastically after inspecting the displays of five interdisciplinary projects assembled through the Blum Center.

Shah spoke with and asked a host of questions of the students, researchers and faculty advisors from UC Berkeley who are behind the projects that combine technology, innovation, science, new business models and rigorous evaluation to fight global problems. He told an overflow crowd that gathered later in Sibley Auditorium about USAID’s push for “open source global development,” which capitalizes on the best ideas generated by 21st-century problem solvers ranging from young and imaginative students on college campuses to more experienced leaders in corporate boardrooms.

In doing so, Shah said, the agency is borrowing heavily from “the vision and experience” of the Blum Center’s “world class” efforts to tackle challenging and seemingly intractable problems...