EPIIC (Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship)

EPIIC Colloquium overview

Students in class during the 2009-2010 EPIIC Colloquium

Read about this year's Colloquium here

Learn about previous colloquiums in the EPIIC Archive

At EPIIC's core is the year-long, multidisciplinary course on a global political theme. Undergraduate and graduate students of diverse nationalities, viewpoints, experiences, and interests, participate in this rigorous colloquium that stresses critical, analytical and normative thinking. Students are encouraged to confront the ambiguity and complexity of EPIIC's annual global theme through a multi-disciplinary examination of the issues and controversies that the topic reflects. They are taught the subject under investigation not only by a broad range of distinguished academics and practitioners, but also as active participants in defining the issues through classroom presentations and discussions, extensive readings, and independent research. There is an emphasis both on individual progress and on the collaborative effort -- in essence, an intellectual team. Students produce tangible outcomes to their studies through their individual research papers or projects, the international symposium, and the Inquiry simulation.

Within the first month, the class travels to the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine. There the students engage in team-building activities and lectures with guest speaker for a weekend. This reinforces the collaborative learning process and accelerates the students' interaction, necessary to the development of an intellectual team.
read about this years outward bound trip here

Each student is responsible for tangible products and participates on two of the following committees: Program, where they debate and decide the themes, panels, and speakers for the international symposium; Multimedia, where they produce a CD-Rom on one aspect of the annual theme; Inquiry, where they design and run the high school simulation program; Special Events, where they discuss and organize professional workshops such as the MediaForum and the Citizens' Panel among other events; and Public Relations and Logistics.

This initiative bridges public and university intellectual space, bringing practitioners in the field to the campus to spend extended periods of time with students, lecturing to the EPIIC colloquium, giving public lectures, and consulting with students on their individual research concerns. In its inaugural year, the practitioners were Jack Blum, former U.S. Senate investigator who uncovered the B.C.C.I. corruption scandal, among others and Sidney J. Zabludoff, the former Deputy Chief of Narcotics Operations at the CIA.

Many of EPIIC's students also distinguish themselves academically. Recently, they have won Fulbright Fellowships, Phi Beta Kappa honors, highest thesis honors, the Philosophy Prize, the Sociology Prize, the Houston Prize in Economics, the Victor Prather Prize for Outstanding Scholarship, the Borghesani Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in International Relations, and shared departmental honors in Political Science. EPIIC students also have been awarded the university's Hale Prize for academic excellence and compassionate service, the Cowdery Memorial Prize for outstanding leadership and high principles, and the Multi-Cultural Service Award.

EPIIC Alumni Reactions

Andrew Galliker EPIIC '95, involved with EPIIC since his freshman year, received a Fulbright to study in the United Arab Emirates "EPIIC is much more than a two-semester course; it is an intellectual endeavor from which students emerge with a keener understanding of the complexity of international problems and a firmer grasp of the tools which are needed to confront them. By creating an environment which cultivates initiative, accountability, intellectual innovation, and teamwork, EPIIC develops skills in leadership and professionalism that cannot be received through regular academic courses."

Matt Bai EPIIC '90, valedictorian, Columbia School of Journalism; national correspondent, Newsweek "Most classroom learning is, by necessity, the reflection of one professor's view, aided by a few select books and media tools that support the point. This is an effective way to teach names and dates, but it does little to encourage students to independently evaluate information. EPIIC is refreshingly different. Students have the opportunity to read a dizzying amount of material from opposite perspectives, to personally question many of the experts themselves, and to discuss their impressions with one another. In EPIIC, it's all right to be conflicted or critical, or even downright wrong now and then; what isn't acceptable is to abdicate your responsibility to think. This is the essence of intellectual leadership. It breeds confidence and wisdom in a world where too many people are simply overwhelmed by the flood of information."

Kavita Pillay EPIIC '96, Comparative Religion and Biology major; Mickey Leland Congressional Hunger Fellow "While EPIIC is easily the most innovative program on campus, it is also one highly intense academic and personal journey...few classes can be characterized as a true immersion in the given subject matter...I wish that every college student could engage in such a holistic approach to higher education. What I have told other Tufts students time and time again is that, 'If you're looking for an intellectual Himalaya, do EPIIC; if you want to test your leadership potential, do EPIIC; if you want to meet some of the brightest, most ambitious and compassionate people you'll ever know, do EPIIC.'"

Maria Figueroa EPIIC '93, International Relations major, Program Associate, Council on Foreign Relations "EPIIC's unique design, a boot camp of academic and professional training, has consistently stimulated my entrepreneurial energies. It has given me the skills and confidence to connect my aspirations to opportunities that make a difference...The intense academic preparation, the creativity afforded by independent and group projects, and the professional conduct that was expected from our high-level interactions were invaluable preparation for the post-graduate work-world...An EPIIC symposium participant, that year, became my first employer at the United Nations Development Programme. As an assistant to a senior diplomat, I grew from research and writing responsibilities to leading training sessions with international NGOs and negotiating UNDP's official position in multilateral conferences."

Tovia Smith EPIIC '87, New England Correspondent, National Public Radio "...I didn't quite know it when I signed up for the program, but EPIIC was a lesson not only in politics and history, but also in morality, the search for truth, and personal leadership...no course had ever provoked me to overcome so many of my own deep-rooted biases I never even knew I had...In short, I found EPIIC to be a profound lesson in humanity."