Hi, I’m Raj, the founding president & editor-in-chief of Devex, the media platform for the global development community. My teammates and I get up every day committed to ensuring that global development efforts do more good for more people. I’m also the author of The Business of Changing the World
which draws upon my two decades of experience covering global development and outlines the people, ideas, and technology disrupting the aid industry.
I do a lot of public speaking, moderating of events, and video interviews. I've interviewed on stage and on camera people like Bill & Melinda Gates, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Sir Fazle Abed, and everyone from aid workers on the front lines to Hollywood celebrities advocating for a better world.
What you might not know about me is that I developed a lifelong interest in efforts to make the world a better place as a kid spending time in Kerala, India. My aunt and uncle were development scholars, studying the dairy cooperative movement in India, nurses in the Philippines, and farm workers in Indonesia, among other things. I learned a lot from them. Since then I've had the good fortune to travel to more than 50 countries and the honor of getting to know countless aid workers, social enterpreneurs, technical experts, and leaders of all kinds doing incredible, often brave, work to improve lives and preserve our planet.
I began my career in political campaigns and spent several years as a political strategist, first as a member of the national advance team for President Bill Clinton (I did everything from figure out where the satellite trucks could park to coordinate media interviews for senior White House staff) and ultimately as a principal and political director for the leading Democratic polling firm Penn and Schoen. I conducted exit polling and provided advice on several presidential campaigns around the world, and was on the ground during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the referendum to recall Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In between, some friends from Georgetown University (where I had been an undergraduate) and I created and sold a successful financial media dot-com company.
Devex began in 2000, when I was a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School. I had always wanted to work in global development but wasn't sure where to get started. I was surprised to find there was no independent source of basic information such as lists of organizations, jobs, or projects. That seemed like an obvious and important inefficiency for what is after all a $200 billion industry. From that simple realization, some close friends and I got together and created Devex as a social enterprise that would connect and inform development professionals and aid workers all over the world. On the advice of the dean (seriously!), I dropped out and moved to Washington, D.C. It was good advice. Today, Devex has 100+ full-time staff around the world and serves a global audience of more than 1 million aid workers and development professionals. I’m fortunate to be able to say I love what I do.
I remain keenly interested in innovative start-ups and am an active investor, including in Hirevue, ZoomForth, Bridge.Us, and Moneao. I sit on a number of boards and until recently chaired the World Economic Forum's Humanitarian Council. I’m also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
I enjoy moderating events, chairing sessions, providing analysis to the media, and public speaking opportunities. I am a regular author for the World Economic Forum website and (of course!) express my views in commentaries on Devex. If you're interested in inviting me to speak or have a media inquiry, please contact Margaret Richardson. Don't hesitate to reach out to me @raj_kumar on twitter
, and, as always, thanks for being a part of the Devex community.