Dean John Keeler presented the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Nitin Madhav (MPIA ’92) last night during a reception for GSPIA’s Board of Visitors at the University Club. Nitin is the Officer-in-Charge, Afghanistan Affairs, at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Nitin received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 and then went on to earn two masters degrees at Pitt, an MPIA from GSPIA in 1992 and a Master of Public Health in 1994. He began a distinguished career in international development as Project Coordinator—Relief International in Tajikistan in 1994, where he administered refugee relief projects. His work in Tajikistan continued with an appointment as Project Manager for Save the Children, where he developed a distribution system for delivering building materials to assist returning refugees with the construction of new homes. In 1995, UNICEF tapped him to serve as Technical Consultant for Doctors Without Borders to train health care workers in vaccination techniques.
In 1996, Madhav returned to the U.S. as a consultant for USAID’s Bureau for Global Health where he was involved in strategic planning to support the expansion of the Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival (BASIC) Project into additional countries. Madhav went abroad again in 1997, serving as Project Director for Doctors of the World in Rwanda. In that role he organized public health services for refugees returning to their homes after the genocide. However, shortly after settling into his new job, rebel gunmen took Madhav and four teammates hostage. The gunmen broke into the home where Madhav was working with a doctor, a nurse, and an administrator, all from Spain. The militia held the aid workers at gunpoint for several hours, then inexplicably opened fire; Madhav was the only one who survived. He returned to the U.S. to receive care for injuries sustained in the attack and then, undaunted, returned to humanitarian work as Operations Division Coordinator for the BASIC Project. Shortly after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Madhav was appointed Program Development Officer for Afghanistan Affairs at USAID. Most notably, Madhav coordinated the production and distribution of ten million textbooks across Afghanistan using airplane, truck, and donkey cart. His efforts enabled schools to open on time in the war-torn nation, an accomplishment for which Madhav received recognition by President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony.
In 2005 Madhav was appointed Senior Reconstruction Advisor, Islamabad. In that role he served as the Asia and Near East Bureau’s senior advisor to manage and design responses to natural and geopolitical crises. In 2007, he was appointed Officer-in-Charge of Pakistan Affairs/Officer-in-Charge of Tribal Areas, where he was responsible for the start-up and management of a development assistance budget of $750 million designed to deliver health, education, livelihoods and public administration programs in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. In 2010, Madhav was named Officer-in-Charge of Burma, China, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Asia Regional Programs; a key accomplishment in this role was establishing the USAID Mission in Burma. Madhav was appointed Acting Director, Afghanistan Affairs, in 2014 and currently manages USAID’s largest bilateral program with a $6.34 billion budget and over 300 staff. Madhav received GSPIA’s Volunteer Service Award in 1999, has served as a member of the GSPIA Board of Visitors since 2012, and is proud to have mentored scores of GSPIA students over the years.