Professor Allyala Nandakumar assesses President Obama’s pick for USAID leader

May 01, 2015

Photo of Professor Allyala Nandakumar

On April 30, President Barack Obama nominated White House adviser Gayle Smith to head the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Professor Allyala Nandakumar, director of the Heller PhD program and director of the Institute for Global Health and Development, also holds a position at USAID as first chief economist for global health. He likes the president’s choice. “Gayle Smith is a person with a deep understanding of and commitment to global health and development,” Nandakumar says. “She is an outstanding administrator.”

If confirmed, Smith would administer the USAID’s $20 billion budget and lead the agency’s response to humanitarian crises and natural disasters such as the recent earthquake in Nepal. Nandakumar says Smith “will make for an excellent leader of USAID and position the agency to be the pre-eminent provider of impactful assistance to low- and middle-income countries.” Smith would succeed former USAID leader Rajiv Shah, who stepped down as the agency’s administrator in February.

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