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Summer 2003


Thinking Beyond Boundaries, Acting Across Borders
EPIIC continues to train future global leaders

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Sherman Teichman was teaching political science at Tufts in 1985 when an international tragedy altered his career path. On June 24, Arab extremists hijacked TWA Flight 847, murdering an American on board. The event, coupled with the Iranian seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, prompted an outpouring of rage that Teichman, who had operational and analytical experience with counter-terrorism, found highly polarizing and counterproductive. “I was disturbed by the visceral and irrational debate about these events,” recalls Teichman. “The perspectives were inappropriately Manichean, self-righteous, and morally obtuse.”

Teichman broadened the discourse, inviting experts ranging from directors of the CIA and FBI to Islamic religious leaders to campus to participate in hostage-taking simulations and an international symposium. The events gained national attention, and the university asked Teichman to found what became the Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) program.

Today, as a foundation program of the Institute for Global Leadership, EPIIC has trained more than 500 students in how to address complex political dilemmas. Institute director Teichman and associate director Heather Barry, J88, carry on EPIIC’s mission to “explore how higher education can produce ethical, critical thinkers who understand the intricacies of world affairs and are prepared for active participation.”

EPIIC comprises a yearlong, for-credit, academic colloquium, a global research and internship program, an international symposium, professional workshops, an international media forum, a national high school global issues simulation program, and public service initiatives.

At its core is a yearlong course on a selected global political theme; this year the focus is “The United States’ Role in the World.” A broad range of distinguished academics and practitioners provide instruction, and students define the issues through classroom presentations and discussions, extensive readings, and independent research, which culminates with many pursuing additional research in the field.

EPIIC students remain loyal to the program long after graduation. Barry notes that EPIIC staff are in contact with at least 80 percent of their graduates, and many former students have given generously of their time and money to the program, acting as mentors and advisors as well as helping to fund research trips.

For Teichman, his greatest satisfaction comes from mentoring and witnessing the growth of students. “It’s satisfying to know that while contending with what we call ‘conundrum issues,’ our graduates are more adept and insightful about these issues than most,” he says. “A sense of incredible community has developed over these years, and it’s wonderful.”

Teichman delights in the eclectic nature of EPIIC. “It’s true that EPIIC has a very strong human rights record that we are very proud of,” says Teichman. “But the bottom line is that the students who come through here go on to become neuroscientists, journalists, captains of industry, military leaders. Regardless of where you’re looking, you’ll find EPIIC grads, creating new initiatives and demonstrating leadership.”—Michele Gouveia

In February, several of the alumni featured in this article will return to campus for “Voices from the Field,” a five-day workshop sponsored by the president’s office, as part of the EPIIC symposium. They will present at the symposium, mentor current students, and, in turn, have the opportunity to learn from senior people in their fields, from Nobel peace laureates to high-ranking military leaders. For more information about “Voices” and the symposium, visit www.tuftsgloballeadership.org.