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December 01, 2015

Senate Confirms New Head for U.S. Humanitarian Agency

Gayle E. Smith, an Africa expert and former national security aide to President Obama, was confirmed by the Senate Monday as the new leader of the U.S. Agency for International Development, reports The New York Times.

She succeeds Rajiv Shah, a physician and former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation official who stepped down in early 2015 after five years with the office that oversees federal humanitarian work, including disaster response, development programs, and distribution of foreign aid.

Ms. Smith spent more than 20 years in Africa as a journalist and also served in the Clinton administration as a special assistant to the president and the National Security Council's senior director for African affairs. She is a founder of the Enough Project, a nonprofit working to end genocide. She was confirmed by a 79-7 vote four months after a Senate committee approved her nomination without objections.