Born to Indian immigrant parents in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the 36 year old Shah serves as the Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE) and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With a staff of over 10,000 under him (including 2,200 federal scientists), and a budget in excess of $2.6 billion, Dr. Shah is tasked with leading the agency’s participation in President Barack Obama’s global food security initiative.
Prior to his appointments Under Secretary, Dr. Shahworked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a variety of roles, including Director of Agricultural Development, which over saw the foundation’s multi-billion dollar portfolio for grant and program related investments which looked to transform small scale farming around the world and over come hunger and poverty. He also managed the Foundation’s $1.5 billion commitment to the Vaccine Fund, an effort that Bill and Melinda Gates called ‘their best investment’.
During his tenure as Under Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Shah has launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to help fund research programs that advance the knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and poor communities.
He has previously worked for Al Gore ‘ s 2000 Presidential campaign as a health care policy adviser and served as an adviser to the City of Philadelphia’s Public Health Commissioner. Early in his career, he worked on a health and development project in rural Southern India.
He has recently been nominated by President Obama to be the chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development, (US- AID), which would make him the highest ranking Indian American in the U.S. Administration, pending approval by Congress.
Indian-American Suresh Kumar, who served as a special adviser to the Clinton foundation and was a news anchor in India from 1970 to 1985, has been appointed to a key administration post by President Barack Obama.
Kumar, known for his expertise of public-private partnership, has been nominated by Obama as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service in the US Department of Commerce, the White House said in a statement.
Kumar, President and managing partner of KaiZen Innovation, served as special adviser to the Clinton Foundation where he worked with governments in Sub-Saharan Africa and corporate CEOs to establish private-public partnerships to stimulate economic development in the region. He previously served on the Group Operating Committee at Johnson & Johnson and as Vice President of Consumer Products for Latin America at Warner Lambert/Pfizer. Kumar has published on global management and served as adjunct faculty member at the Schulich School of Business at Toronto’s York University, Bombay University, and has been appointed Professor of International Business at Rutgers University EMBA programme. Between 1970 and 1985, Kumar was a news anchor on national television in India, according to the brief bio-data put out by the White House.
Better known by his stage name, Kal Penn, the actor turned politician, was appointed to the Obama White House as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.In this role, he will serve as a liaison with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.He is also listed as an Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Inter governmental Affairs.
The actor, star of such films and television shows like, “The Namesake”, the “Harold and Kumar” series and “House”, has long ex- pressed an interest in politics, and campaigned extensively for President Obama on the 2008 election trail. Born in New Jersey, to Gujarati immigrants, he has stated that stories of his grandparents marching with Gandhi for Indian independence influenced him to enter politics. Prior to his appointment to the White House, he was a visiting lecturer in Asian American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching two courses, “Images of Asian Americans in the Media” and ” Contemporary American Teen Films”.
A former classmate of Obama at Harvard Law School, Rai is a professor of patent law at Duke University. She has been appointed as an administrator for external affairs to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.Her position allows her to oversee PTO legislative, congressional and international matters.
Prior to her appointment, she was heavily involved in Obama’s campaign, as a chair of the intellectual policy subgroup of the technology, media and telecommunications policy group. Part of her work as a member of the Presidential Transition Team, she handled review of the Patent and Trademark Office.
She has previously worked as a litigation associate for Jenner & Block and in the Federal Programs Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. Till her appointment to the PTO, she was a member of the Duke Law School faculty, where she taught Patent Law and Innovation and the Bio pharmaceutical Industry.
Having been appointed director to the Office of Inter governmental Affairs, the 33 year old Nick Rathod, was tasked with helping the Barak Obama transition team to find out what issues were important to U.S. governors and mayors.
He has previously been the deputy director and federal counsel in the state of New York’s Washington D.C. office, where he served as the governor’s primary liaison to the nation’s governors.He is a trained civil rights attorney and one of the founders of “South Asians for Obama”, a grassroots movement that mobilized the South Asian community in America to support Barak Obama’s nomination for President of the United States.
Born and raised in Nebraska to Gujarati immigrants, he comes from a strong Methodist church background, his father being a Reverend in the church.
Inputs and information complied by Divyansh Bajpai, US Bureau Chief