Nisha Desai Biswal eyes new USAID partnerships in Asia and the Near East

Nisha Desai Biswal, assistant administrator for Asia and the Near East. Photo by: personal collection

Nisha Desai Biswal is no stranger to the U.S. Agency for International Development, even though she is just getting settled into her new role as its assistant administrator for Asia and the Near East. Not only did Biswal serve for four years in USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Office of Transition Initiatives, and as chief of staff in its Management Bureau, she has also spent much of her career interacting with the agency in other capacities, as in her previous role as a majority clerk for the House of Representatives’ appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations. Prior to that, she was a professional staff member of the House International Relations Committee.

This unique perspective is sure to serve Biswal well in her return to USAID. Her priority will be to build stronger partnerships between individuals and agencies that play a role in development in Asia.

“In my travels across the region over the years, I have seen that development is most transformative and sustainable when assistance programs are embraced and owned by the local population and there is a true partnership between both the donor and recipient nation,” she said.

In addition to her passion for fighting global poverty, Biswal has something else in common with her new boss, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah: Their parents are first-generation immigrants from India. She draws inspiration from their parents’ story of “journey[ing] far from rural India to pursue the American Dream and a better life for their children.”

At USAID, Biswal will help to ensure that future generations in Asia and elsewhere have a chance at fulfilling their dreams as well.

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