Sedki M. Riad, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering and director of the Virginia Tech-Middle East and North Africa Graduate Program, received the university's 2011 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education is presented annually to a Virginia Tech faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international education at the university. Selection is based upon contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, the impact on students, the impact on the campus and community, the significance of the initiative, and the sustainability of the initiative. Awardees receive $2,000.

Riad was recognized for his work as director of Virginia Tech-Middle East and North Africa Graduate Program, the university’s cooperative program for students in the Middle East and North Africa through which they can earn advanced degrees from Virginia Tech in electrical and computer engineering and computer science.

This initiative stands out as one of the few successful master’s degree and doctoral degree programs currently operating in a healthy, sustainable mode in the developing world and is often cited as a model of university outreach and educational excellence.

Collaborators note that their joint efforts in this project have been rewarded not only by the success of the program that has transformed the lives of a group of young people but also by the impact that program has had on the image of Virginia Tech in Egypt and the entire Middle East. The program has fostered mutual cultural understanding and appreciation.

Riad has promoted the program since its inception in 2005, giving generously of his time to host visiting delegations, as well as organizing trips to Egypt for participating faculty. He has worked to resolve the many details, smooth sensitivities, and overcome internal bureaucratic obstacles. His leadership efforts have led to securing external funding as well as obtaining Ministry of Higher Education sponsorship of the program, which has resulted in additional spin-off projects in the region.

“The Virginia Tech-Middle East and North Africa Graduate Program continues to grow, and Riad’s colleagues attest that his work exemplifies what the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Education was created to recognize,” said John Burton, professor of instructional design and technology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, who nominated Riad for the award.

Riad is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He received his bachelor's degree and master’s degree from Cairo University in Egypt and a Ph.D. from the University of Toledo.