Tufts University

Two Decades of International Inquiry

Tufts’ unique EPIIC program encourages students to think big and think globally.

J. Jeremy Sueker | Ajaita Shah | Elliot Hirshon | Negar Razavi

In the 20 years since the launch of Tufts’ unique Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) program, the hundreds of students who joined its ranks have tackled a wide range of complex and far-reaching topics including "The Militarization of the Third World," "Drugs, National Security and U.S. Public Policy," and "Exodus and Exile: Refugees, Migration, and Global Security."

Through individual and collective research, internships and interactions with professionals, EPIIC students gain an in-depth understanding of a selected global issue (this year’s theme: Oil and Water and an acute awareness of the interconnectedness of the global community.

For EPIIC Director Sherman Teichman and his students, the focus is on big ideas that bridge the international and the personal; the global and the local; the collective and the individual. J. Jeremy Sueker, Ajaita Shah, Elliot Hershon and Negar Razavi are just a few of the students who have been inspired and enabled by EPIIC. These are their stories:

J. Jeremy Sueker

When you meet J. Jeremy Sueker, the thing that first strikes you about the tall, lanky Philadelphia native is his remarkable articulateness. The junior - a community health and international relations major who "was crazy enough to do EPIIC during my freshman year" - speaks thoughtfully and intensely about subjects as diverse as EPIIC ("a smorgasboard of intellectual and humanitarian interests and concerns") and his initial antipathy towards ballet ("I disliked it profoundly - thought it was stodgy and rigid").      Read more > >

Ajaita Shah

For Ajaita Shah and EPIIC, it was - quite literally - love at first sight. "Summer of freshman year, I was browsing the Tufts website and I decided to check out the EPIIC website," says Shah, who was born and raised in New York. "That’s when I saw the next year’s topic, 'Dilemmas of Nation Building: America’s Role in the World.'
I instantly fell in love."       Read more > >

Elliot Hirshon

It’s safe to say that very few college students have played in a national orchestra. But for senior Elliot Hirshon - who spent the first semester of his junior year in Ghana - doing exactly that (while simultaneously working for Habitat for Humanity and implementing sustainable development in a refugee camp) was simply a matter of course.       Read more > >

Negar Razavi

New Year’s celebrations, as a rule, can get fairly rowdy. But the way junior Negar Razavi rang in 2004 was, by any standard, especially surreal. "It’s the Christian New Year, and we’re celebrating it in a Jewish kibbutz with Palestinian Arabs who were Muslims!" the Iranian-born peace and justice studies and history major laughs. Razavi has EPIIC to thank for the memorable experience, which occurred during the inaugural trip taken by the students in the New Initiative for Middle East Peace [NIMEP].       Read more > >

J. Jeremy Sueker | Ajaita Shah | Elliot Hirshon | Negar Razavi

Profile written by Patrice Taddonio, Class of 2006

Patrice Taddonio, a native of Holland, Pennsylvania, is an English major and a communications and media studies minor. Currently the Tufts Daily's head features editor, she interned with the Improper Bostonian magazine during her sophomore year, and worked as a temporary text editor with the Associated Press at this July's Democratic National Convention. A member of the Class of 2006 and a songwriter, Taddonio has also performed on guitar and vocals at on-campus venues and at Boston-area benefits.

Photos and front page image by Matt Edmundson.

This story originally ran on Feb. 21, 2005