Virginia Tech’s land-grant mission has guided the university’s efforts to expand educational opportunities while addressing the world's most complex problems. That mission encourages us to look outward— to serve and engage with the communities around us.

As the university heads into its next 150 years, that mission takes on an increasingly broad geographic scope of responsibility.

“The quintessential challenge of the 21st century is the movement of students and faculty from connectedness to interconnectedness to interdependence,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. “International engagement is not a choice—it is a necessity.”

Since 2013, Ghosh has led efforts to be engaged fully with society, here and around the world. Among the places where he sees the most opportunity is Africa.

“Africa represents the youngest and fastest-growing population in the world,” Ghosh said. “Its demographic, economic, and political trends will have implications on all our lives.”

From Senegal to Malawi and Ethiopia to Botswana, Virginia Tech researchers are collaborating with institutions, industry, government, and local communities to tackle some of the continent’s most intractable problems and fine-tune critical thinking skills that help shape some of the most cutting-edge research.

In addition, the university offers faculty-led study abroad programs in about a dozen African countries and has exchange partnerships with leading universities across the continent.

“The opportunity to live and study with Africa’s youth as they rise to meet the extraordinary challenges of their future offers Virginia Tech students a unique pathway to academic, personal, social, and professional growth,” Ghosh said. “Such experiential learning opportunities help students grow into global citizens who personify Ut Prosim throughout the world.”

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