The Center for International Research, Education, and Development has named April Raphiou its communications director to plan and implement communications strategies for the center’s multimillion-dollar portfolio.

Since 2017, Raphiou has been a consultant for the center, working predominately on the Education and Research in Agriculture project in Senegal funded by the United States Agency for International Development. In that role, she collaborated with Virginia Tech staff, faculty, and partners to promote improvements to the West African nation’s agricultural education and research system. With that project’s end, Raphiou will focus on the center’s new projects such as the Youth in Agriculture project in Senegal.    

Executive Director Van Crowder said, “April created impressive communication materials promoting the successes of the project in Senegal. Getting the word out is vital to generating awareness and understanding about Virginia Tech’s global work. April will play a crucial role helping us do this.”   

During her 15-year communications career, Raphiou worked as a consultant for the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and the International Civil Service Commission, where she advised top United Nations officials on best practices for writing, designing, and publishing electronic communications for entities such as the U.N.-led Commission on the Status of Women.

She has a doctorate in mass communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her dissertation focused on how news media in Nigeria and Kenya reflect the economic pursuits of the U.S. and China.

“Development work benefits those who receive assistance as well as those who give of themselves to effect positive change around the world,” Raphiou said. “I remain enthusiastic about helping to promote, strengthen, and expand Virginia Tech’s global commitment to improving lives and serving others.”

In 2014, Raphiou received a certificate in international development policy from Duke University. Fluent in French, she has presented at multiple professional meetings and conferences, including those of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the International Communication Association

The Center for International Research, Education, and Development (CIRED) houses the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management, Women and Gender in International Development, and other international development projects and activities at Virginia Tech. The center is part of Outreach in International Affairs.

Raphiou succeeds Dana Cruikshank, who left Virginia Tech to join the higher-education marketing firm VisionPoint.

Written by Sara Hendery