Colloquium | Members

Yasir Abbas

Yasir Abbas is a senior majoring in international relations with a focus on international security. He came to the United States four years ago as a refugee from Iraq. He first settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he attended Motlow State Community College for two years before transferring to Tufts University in 2012.  In Iraq, Yasir worked as an interpreter with the U.S. military from 2005 to the end of 2009, where he helped start and organize the Awakening Councils in Northwestern Baghdad.  Yasir’s academic interests include the dynamics of internal conflicts, mediation and conflict resolution, economics, and counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. He is currently working on writing his biography. His hobbies are swimming, desert camping, playing soccer, and running.

Rebecca Allen

Rebecca is a senior from Roslyn, NY pursuing a major in Religion. On campus, she is President of both Challah for Hunger and CAFE, the interfaith initiative at Tufts. Additionally, Rebecca serves as the Cummings/ Hillel Holocaust and Genocide Education intern, bringing scholars and survivors to campus in order to further Holocaust and Genocide awareness. Previously, Rebecca has interned with United to End Genocide in the field of policy and government relations as well as Project Harmony, an English-language coexistence program for Arab and Jewish Israeli youth in Jerusalem. Rebecca is excited to be part of EPIIC as she hopes to pursue a career working towards the goals of creating a just and sustainable peace in the MENA region. In particular, she is interested in the role of religion as both a weapon of war and tool for peace and hopes to engage in women and youth empowerment efforts as a means by which to promote peace and reconciliation in this region.

Sarah Butterfield

Sarah is a senior majoring in International Relations, with a concentration in international security. She has been involved in other Institute for Global Leadership programs, including a conflict-simulation put on by the IGL program ALLIES, called FIELD-EX in which she assisted in planning a simulation of an international water scarcity induced conflict. Sarah has always had a particular interest in the MENA region, which she has now supplemented with her study of Arabic for the past three years. She spent her junior year abroad in Cairo, studying Arabic and Egyptian politics. Her specific interests lie in the civil-military relationship in Egypt and the future of democracy in the country. Sarah hopes to continue to pursue this area of interest through EPIIC this year, as well as expand her study of the region as a whole.

Maria Jose Fabre

Maria Jose Fabre is a sophomore majoring in International Relations with a concentration in security and Political Science. Although she was born El Salvador, her family is Argentinian-Italian and she spent seven years living in Colombia. Maria Jose, or MJ as most of her classmates refer to her, has been involved in Ballroom, Model UN, and ALLIES during her time at tufts.  She speaks Spanish, French, some Portuguese, and has recently started learning Russian. This summer, MJ spent her time at the Center for International Private Enterprise working on projects researching anti-corruption, entrepreneurship, and democracy building in the Maghreb and Latin America. In her free time, she enjoys reading, kayaking, playing guitar, and making art.

Li Fan

Li is a freshman from Shanghai, China. She is passionate about social justice and considers Peace and Justice a potential major to pursue. Her fascination with the Middle East was kindled by a trip to Turkey, where she immediately fell in love with this amazing country and considered Istanbul the most beautiful city she had ever seen. She spent the last summer interning at the Access to Sport department of Nike and plans on engaging herself in social entrepreneurship and NGOs in the future.  

Jackie Faselt

Jackie Faselt is a freshman at Tufts University with plans to study International Relations and Arabic. She attended Bronxville High School where she participated in varsity basketball, local community service projects, and graphic design. There she completed an independent science research project on the enhancement of Solar Water Disinfection, mirroring her interest in global health issues. In EPIIC Jackie is looking forward to learning more about the socio-political relationships in the MENA region.

Max Fathy

Max is a senior from Newton, Massachusetts majoring in International Relations with a concentration in International Security.  He worked on President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign and has interned for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and ActBlue, an online Democratic fundraising group.  At Tufts he has studied Spanish and Arabic and spent his Junior year spring semester studying at the University of Seville in Seville, Spain.  Max is very excited to deepen his knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa through participating in EPIIC this year.

Ethan Finkelstein

Ethan Finkelstein is a sophomore at Tufts University from New York City studying International Relations. On campus, Ethan is involved in a number of student-run organizations, holding leadership positions on Tufts Democrats, Tufts Community Union Senate, Tufts Hillel, and J Street U at Tufts. Throughout his first year at Tufts, and continuing this year, Ethan has contributed significantly to the discourse and political action on campus revolving around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ethan has attended a number of political conferences in Washington, DC, and Boston, as well as lobbied politicians on the federal level for support for Israel and the peace efforts. Ethan has been involved with promoting civil campus discourse on the conflict by taking part in a number of discussions, hosting important speakers, and moderating a panel discussion with two notable political activists last spring. Ethan has visited the Middle East a number of times spending time in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Though Ethan has spent a large amount of time and effort on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he is also interested in French and social entrepreneurship in regions of conflict.

Ayesha Forbes

Ayesha Forbes is a junior studying History and Peace and Justice Studies. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, she finished high school at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore, and then made the jump across two continents to Tufts. She has worked with the Boston Consulting Group and Walden Media in the past, before realizing that her true passion is to work in the MENA region, particularly in human rights and security, because the dilemmas surrounding the geo-political circumstances of the region and the consequent repercussions on human rights have deeply motivated her to try and make a difference. On campus she is involved with a variegated group of organizations, working with the Office of Campus Life and as a lighting designer in the Tufts Drama Department, serving on the executive board of the International Club, and being an RA to thirty-seven fantastic freshmen in Tilton Hall. An avid traveler, she spent this last summer with her time split between Mumbai, Delhi, Ottawa, Maine, Halifax, Boston and New York, enjoyed every minute of it, and is already planning her next trip. She loves experiencing different cultures, and believes such experiences have sensitized her and led her to develop a knack for culturally sensitive diplomacy fairly well. Her other love is photography and filmmaking, which, although still in its early days, she hopes to pursue professionally in conjunction with her goals in MENA, meshing together her two passions. She has a proclivity for anything that makes her laugh, meeting new people, reading, running, writing, picnicking, and can definitely be labeled a die-hard health foodie. EPIIC 2013-2014 promises to be an adventure and she is unbelievably excited to lose every ounce of her free time to explore it.

Kari Frentzel

Kari Frentzel is a sophomore at Tufts University studying International Relations, as well as Arabic and Japanese. Born in Japan, Kari spent the early years of her childhood in Massachusetts and then returned to Japan where she attended both elementary and middle school. Although she returned to the U.S. for high school, Kari was also a recipient of a one-year study abroad scholarship in Egypt sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar YES program. Living in Cairo, Kari developed a passion for studying the Middle East and learning Arabic. This past summer, Kari interned in Tokyo with AFS, a high school exchange program where she worked with Japanese and American high school students. She continues to pursue her interests in the Middle Eastern as well as language at Tufts and is excited to participate in the EPIIC course.