EPIIC (Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship)

EPIIC Symposium Overview

A West Point cadet addresses the US Empire: Pax or Pox Americana? panel during the 2004 EPIIC symposium

Media Forum

Public Service


The international symposium is an annual four-to-five-day public forum featuring scores of international practitioners, activists, academics, public intellectuals, and journalists. EPIIC's symposia -- consisting of presentations, panel discussions, topical forums, informal gatherings, multimedia and dramatic presentations, and workshops -- are intellectually wide-ranging and accessible. The perspectives of the participants are intentionally diverse, often competing, and at times adversarial. Below are some examples of the controversial and complex issues that EPIIC has explored.

The international symposium is an annual four-to-five-day public forum featuring scores of international practitioners, activists, academics, public intellectuals, and journalists. EPIIC's symposia -- consisting of presentations, panel discussions, topical forums, informal gatherings, multimedia and dramatic presentations, and workshops -- are intellectually wide-ranging and accessible. The perspectives of the participants are intentionally diverse, often competing, and at times adversarial. Below are some examples of the controversial and complex issues that EPIIC has explored.

In 1989, for the Drugs, International Security, and U.S. Public Policy symposium, EPIIC, with the assistance of then U.S. Attorney Richard Gregorie and the U.S. Witness Protection Program, brought the top witness against the Medellin cartel to the Tufts campus to explain the intricacies of money laundering. He was interrogated for several hours in front of a public audience by the Special Agent in Charge in Miami for the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Director of Operation Greenback for the Internal Revenue Service, and a Senior Economist with the RAND Corporation.

A panel of the 1991 symposium on Confronting Political and Social Evil brought together General Hector Gramajo, Defense Minister of Guatemala, with Henry Steiner of the Harvard Law School who was blocked from establishing an independent judiciary in Guatemala, and Michael Massing, a reporter for The New York Review of Books who had accused General Gramajo of complicity with the death squads.

In 1992, the EPIIC symposium, International Security: The Environmental Dimension, brought chiefs of the Kayapo nation of Brazil together with chiefs of the Cree nation of Quebec to discuss their common concerns regarding development, specifically hydroelectric dams planned for their respective lands, and to draft a common statement for the United Nations Year of Indigenous Peoples.

In 1999, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina, and Gisela von Muhlenberg of Chile, debated the role and impact of truth and reconciliation commissions as part of the Global Crime, Corruption, and Accountability symposium. Each was involved in his or her own country's struggle with justice and accountability. As a critical component of its public forums, EPIIC stimulates ethical debate by bringing leaders of moral stature to the campus who have had to make difficult choices in their lives, such as Sonja Anderson, a senior scientist at the Hanover Nuclear Reservation who exposed the company's illegal storage and dumping of nuclear waste; Gherardo Colombo, chief prosecutor of the Mani Pulite (Clean Hands) anti-corruption trials in Italy; General Jovan Divjak, the Bosnian Serb commander who led the defense of Sarajevo in support of a pluralistic society; and Chai Ling, former Commander of the Tiananman Square student democracy movement. Students are given the opportunity to discuss openly the decisions these individuals have made, probing the basis for their actions as well as their views on the outcomes and consequences. EPIIC also encourages the original presentations of its students.

For the 1998 symposium on Exodus and Exile: Refugees, Migration, and Global Security, three of EPIIC's students comprised a panel on AIDS, Migration, and Refugees. The students presented their original research and two of them, as freshmen, spent their summer in Nepal researching the illicit trafficking of girls to brothels in India and their subsequent difficult reintegration into Nepali life. The third student, a senior, presented her work on asylum and immigration based on her research at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

The Boston Globe Editorial, February 28, 1999 "...This is a symposium that promises to bring history makers together with students to seek the answers for the knottiest problems bedeviling the contemporary world. The event illustrates the possibilities for moral and intellectual relevance at a university." The Boston Globe Editorial, March 4, 1995 "At a time when the national discourse seems forever reduced to its lowest common denominators -- to sound bites and slogans -- EPIIC is a refreshing antidote. Far from looking to simplify the world, the symposium aims to teach students to view life in a way that respects complex human systems." Dr. Mark Kleiman John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University "The panelists were discussing some of the real issues, more or less as they might in private with their professional peers, and the audience was asking real questions, questions designed to advance the discourse rather than to express emotion. It was a glimpse of what self-government might look like as a fact rather than a piety." Dr. Leon Fuerth Former Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to Vice President Al Gore, Jr. "This was an intellectually tight and emotionally intense affair. The fact that it is the work of your students makes the whole thing that much more exceptional." William E. Colby Former CIA Director "Representing some of the more contentious of the subjects covered, I can say that I was treated with the utmost courtesy but subjected to the most direct of intellectual challenge -- which is what such conferences are supposed to be all about." Richard Nuccio Former Senior Foreign Policy Adviser, U.S. Senate "I have been an observer/participant of academic enterprises all my professional life. The level of excitement and dedication displayed by your students is unrivaled in my experience. EPIIC has helped highly qualified and motivated individuals to become even more effective through the forging of a collective conscience and work ethic." Thomas F. Eagleton Former U.S. Senator "I doubt if there has ever been brought together in any one place the collection of knowledge and talent on covert action. EPIIC has been a trailblazer in this regard."

Media Forum

This gathering of national and international media affords reporters and editors exposure to each other as well as to scholars and practitioners, allowing the journalists insight into their methodologies, the impact of their work, and the influence of their medium.

The first segment of the MediaForum is a public panel (or panels) at EPIIC's symposium in which editors and reporters focus on the coverage of specific issues based on their personal experiences. The second segment is a day-long workshop in which journalists reassess the issues and controversies that emerged during the symposium as well as critique their profession, examining the media's coverage, treatment, and role in relation to EPIIC's theme. EPIIC has been important in the publication of special reports such as The Dallas Morning News' look at "Hidden Wars" and The Boston Globe's "Armed for Profit: The Selling of U.S. Weapons." In 1999, EPIIC collaborated with the Nieman Foundation of Harvard University for a one-day workshop on "Exposing Transnational Crime and Corruption."


Sponsored by EPIIC, the Center for Public Integrity , and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists , this juried fellowship is a two-semester and summer internship for academic independent study credit with CPI and ICIJ that provides the opportunity for students to gain and sharpen their investigative skills.

"The conference was of great value to me, especially through new contacts I made...The spirit of the meeting was, I think, an inspiration for many of your students who, in turn, were an inspiration to us."

--Mr. Leonard Silk, former Senior Economic Columnist and Correspondent, The New York Times

Public Service

"Game of Nations" Soccer team that playted the Tufts University Soccer teamNurturing active citizenship is a critical aspect of EPIIC's educational process. It is partly introduced through public service projects that EPIIC initiates each year.

Citizens' Panel

The Citizens' Panel provides a framework for non-expert citizens to deliberate on issues of public policy and affords students insight into and experience with a grassroots democracy project. It is based on the consensus conference pioneered in Europe -- an established institution in several countries that is underwritten by the governments and considered vital policy input.

In 1997, EPIIC, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, and the Loka Institute hosted Telecommunications and the Future of Democracy, the first Citizens' Panel in the United States. The goal was to offer the participants an opportunity to develop and publicize informed judgments on emerging telecommunications technologies and policies. A diverse range of panelists -- from an MIT scholar to a homeless woman -- met and deliberated over seven days, interviewing more than 20 experts in the field.

Game of Nations

Bosnian, Brazilian, Haitian, Iraqi, Russian, Somalian, Sudanese, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese soccer players -- new immigrants to Boston -- came together in 1998, at EPIIC's invitation, to form the World Citizens team. They played the Tufts University soccer team as part of the "Game of Nations" day that concluded EPIIC's year of studying refugees, migration, and global security.

Co-sponsored by EPIIC and Jewish Vocational Service, this day brought together Tufts students, members of the greater Boston community, and refugees and immigrants in the region for a day-long international festival of sport and music. [For more information, see Special Events in the 1998 Archives.]

Education Builds Bosnia-Herzegovina Foundation

As one of EPIIC's public service initiatives in 1998, the program co-sponsored, with Barnes and Noble, a matching challenge campaign for school supplies in support of the Education Builds Bosnia-Herzegovina Foundation that raised thousands of dollars.

The Education Builds Bosnia and Herzegovina Foundation is a nongovernmental, nonpolitical, nonprofit organization based in Sarajevo. It provides material assistance and scholarships for the youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina, primarily those children that were disabled, orphaned and internally displaced by the war.



Excerpt from a letter to former Tufts President John DiBiaggio from senior officers of the Boston refugee assistance community:

"The Game of Nations was a ground-breaking event for refugees of Massachusetts. It honored the concept of public service in a remarkable way and we would like to thank Tufts for the vision and imagination of this endeavor.

"Through the arts -- music, dance, art, sport, and cuisine -- the Celebration Day gave refugees the rare opportunity to express themselves in their own terms and take pride in their culture. Assimilation is a difficult and multi-faceted process. Refugees must learn about American culture, but just as important is American understanding of the refugee's culture. This day helped to promote multi-cultural understanding, to raise awareness of refugee communities, to build individual and community morale, and most importantly, to empower refugees to help themselves.

"Jewish Vocational Service received praise from refugees -- Bosnian, Somali, Iraqi, Haitian, and others -- thanking us and explaining how important this day was psychologically. For refugees the concept of home is charged with war, ethnic cleansing and loss. In a significant way, the Celebration Day -- this concept of integration through the arts -- helped to recreate a new idea of home and helped to give life here more meaning and legitimacy."


A workshop during the 2008 EPIIC Symposium "Global Poverty and Inequality".These are small-group, multi-day deliberations, convened by experts, that enable participants to explore in depth particular issues introduced in the annual symposium. The topics addressed -- for example failed states and sovereignty in Africa, humanitarian intervention and human rights, the morality of the death penalty -- reflect and anticipate some of the urgent and contentious concerns of the day. The workshops are often designed to have policy outcomes.

These nonpartisan workshops merge the theoretical insights of academia with the practical experiences of world affairs and have often created lasting linkages among its participants, across professions and disciplines. They have included:

A workshop that considered the creation of WarWatch, to track the proliferation of conventional weapons. This has evolved into the on-going ArmsWatch of Human Rights Watch.

A workshop on pandemics and microbial threats, Microbial Threats and Global Society, that refined the position papers and guidelines issued on global infectious diseases by the Centers for Disease Control and Rockefeller University.

A workshop on Darwinism and Artificial Intelligence, which was published on CD-Rom by Oxford University Press.

A day-long workshop that considered the Emerging Issues in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, including humanitarian intent, human rights obligations, the notion of neutrality, and the possibilities for cooperation between NGOs and the military. It was co-sponsored by Tufts' Feinstein International Famine Center and the Center for Population and Development Studies at Harvard University.

Highly Capitalized Anti-Social Activities, a workshop that provided an in-depth probe into transnational trends and threats to global civil society from prominent predatory and licit and illicit criminal enterprises, including the trade in arms and the trafficking of people.


Daniel C. Dennett
Professor of philosophy, director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts, and twice National Book Award Finalist ( The Origins of Consciousness and Darwin's Dangerous Idea )

"This was an opportunity to participate in an unusual -- but tested -- form of public education. EPIIC at Tufts has had remarkable success over a decade in bringing the brightest people together to talk about controversial topics, always in a spirit of constructive dialogue. I wouldn't have agreed to organize a workshop if I hadn't been sure that everything would be done to make the setting as conducive as possible to serious exchange of ideas, communication at the highest levels, responsibly disseminated to a wide audience."

The Boston Globe
Editorial, March 4, 1995

"...The topics are as cutting-edge as today's headlines. Thus a workshop on human rights and humanitarian emergencies will look at the conflict between the desire for peace and the desire for justice; another on "Darwinism and artificial intelligence" will try to get at the essential differences between humans and machines with the director of cognitive studies at Tufts and the editor of the magazine Wired .

"As rarefied as the discussion may seem, each workshop is aimed at producing concrete policy recommendations. In a time of rampant anti-intellectualism, the thinking alone is worth celebrating.