EPIIC '95, currently the bureau chief for Internews Service in Azerbaijan
"When most students were writing term papers over winter break, I was working on my own "class project" for EPIIC: a documentary film I shot on location in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan was having the first democratic elections in its history and I wanted to document them. But as a 21-year old student with no film making experience, I had a hard time convincing grant givers I was a good investment.
"In EPIIC, I plugged into its extensive network of alumni and contacts. Within weeks, an alum at the State Department had gotten me an interview with Kyrgyzstan's foreign minister. Soon after, he helped me get a diplomatic visa.
"For three weeks I crisscrossed the country with a candidate for parliament, sometimes in a beat up van, sometimes on horseback. I talked to U.N. elections monitors, collective farmers who had lost everything, members of the old Soviet parliament, and 20-somethings who were thriving on the chaos around them. The transition was having a profound effect on everybody's lives. In those three weeks, I learned more about what was going on in post-Soviet Central Asia than I did in a whole summer engrossed in books on the subject.
"That's why EPIIC is unique. Students are given the opportunity to address the essence of an issue, not their professor's interpretation of it. They're encouraged to seek out primary sources, not someone else's analysis. In the process, the line between the classroom and the real world blurs. Let students loose, head them in the right direction, and it's amazing what they will find."
participated in EPIIC during his senior year at Tufts when the program explored "International Security: The Environmental Dimension;" Graduated from Georgetown Law School and is working for a Boston law firm
"When I graduated, my relationship with EPIIC did not end. EPIIC helped me and four other students in the program travel to Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development. It was a terrific way to begin a post-college life -- take the subject I had studied inside and out, and see how world leaders and NGOs address it at the largest international gathering in history. It is a testimony to EPIIC that I never felt in the dark on issues and debates at the Earth Summit.
"EPIIC is also largely responsible for my job at The Boston Globe. Upon my return from Rio, I began working for the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and associate editor Stan Grossfeld. Stan had attended the EPIIC symposium and asked several students to assist him with research for a project proposal. When the project, "The Exhausted Earth," was approved, I became Stan's researcher.
"EPIIC did not only help me to obtain the job, it also prepared me for it. The emphasis on thorough research and on seeking out key debates and questions; the importance given to skepticism; and the exposure to speaking with people that might be intimidating, were all invaluable to my work at the newspaper. I was also privileged enough to travel to Madagascar for three weeks with Stan to see the dilemmas of environment, poverty, and development -- which I had studied in EPIIC -- played out in one of the most eroded and poorest countries of the world."
Editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning Photojournalist, The Boston Globe
"Students today lack passion. They know how to get good grades, yet are sadly lacking in concern for the larger issues which will face them in the 21st century. EPIIC's students are the exception. They look at the big picture...Their work showed a sensitive understanding of the problems facing the world as it nears the millennium. It was timely, well-researched, diverse...This is a fantastic opportunity to get our future leaders involved on grassroots levels with both government and non-governmental agencies."