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Message from CIRED Executive Director

Van Crowder

On March 8, 2018, we celebrated the formal launch of the Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED). It was a momentous day for all of us at CIRED and for our friends and colleagues across the campus and around the world.  

The event was attended by Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs and Cyril Clarke, interim executive vice president and provost,  as well as a large number of  Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students. 

The occasion was even more commemorative, since March 8 also marked International Women’s Day—a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Women entrepreneurs in Senegal that participated in the Education and Research in Agriculture project, shared their congratulatory remarks via a live feed during the launch.

Since 2011, the project has facilitated technical trainings on food quality, hygiene, and safety that have impacted more than 10,000 women entrepreneurs.

The formation of CIRED marks Virginia Tech’s continued commitment to being a global land-grant university.  As a university-wide center, CIRED supports Virginia Tech’s global mission by developing and implementing donor-funded international projects and activities that draw on the university’s knowledge and apply it to improving livelihoods and living conditions in developing countries. This provides opportunities for faculty and students to become engaged in research, teaching, and development of solutions to problems beyond the boundaries of the university, Virginia, and the nation.

CIRED and its predecessors have brought in $182 million in total project funding and $15 million in returned overhead since 1993.  The current CIRED project portfolio is approximately $70 million.  Through its projects, CIRED currently manages 37 sub-awards with partners and supports 77 graduate students globally. It has 39 academic partners in 17 countries.    

Our programs and projects address the most significant challenges in the world today, including food security, human health, and environmental sustainability.  Ultimately, CIRED’s greatest impact is felt in the communities and countries where we work with a range of partners in collaborative ways that extend the spirit of  Virginia Tech’s motto – Ut Prosim, (That I may serve) to a global scale. 


A Brief History of CIRED

For nearly half a century, the Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED) and its predecessor entities have provided innovative research and leadership solutions to ever-evolving global development challenges. In the 1960’s, university faculty conducted agricultural development projects in Africa and Asia. In 1971, Virginia Tech President T. Marshall Hahn created the University Committee on International Programs (UCIP) to coordinate such work.

In 1975, the U.S. Congress passed Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act, which mobilized the research, teaching, and extension expertise of U.S. land-grant institutions, and established the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) to advise the United States Agency for International Development.  Virginia Tech hosted BIFAD’s first Conference on International Development with the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.  After the university received its first Title XII grant in 1978, it added a ground-breaking Women in World Development component to its work. The 1980s saw Virginia Tech President William Lavery named the chair of BIFAD, and UCIP consolidated international development projects into the Office of International Development (OID).

In 1991, OID became the Office of International Research and Development. The office’s mandate was expanded in 2002, when it was renamed the Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED). In 2018, OIRED became CIRED, a new center focused on continuing Virginia Tech’s global legacy.