Building Peace In His Spare Time
For Tufts senior Mauricio Artiņano, winning a coveted spot on USA Today’s College Academic All-Star First Team, is only one of many achievements that decorated his four years on the Hill.
Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.15.06] Upon being named to USA Today's 2006 College Academic All-Star First Team, Tufts senior Mauricio Artiņano gave credit where credit was due - to his "coaches," who, through the years, have included teachers, family and friends.
"I always told all my teachers everywhere I go, everything I get is a result of everything my teachers, family and friends have taught me," he says. Without their support, the native Costa Rican adds that many of the goals he set at Tufts would have been out of reach. As he prepares to graduate in May, however, the international relations major has a long list of accomplishments and a bright future.
› Artiņano talks about the importance of Tufts' support
Artiņano, the only non-native English speaker named to USA Today's list, was selected in February from a pool of 600 nominees. He was among 20 college students who, the newspaper says, "think globally - and act globally too." Artiņano - who recently masterminded an international conference focused on the Central American peace process - certainly fits the description.
"The success or relative success of the Central American peace process, especially when compared to other peace processes, has been forgone by the international community," Artiņano explains. This success inspired him to develop "Lessons Learned on Regional Peace-Building: The Experience of the Central American Peace Process," which was held in Spain during the first weekend of March.
The conference analyzed lessons for worldwide peace gleaned from the Central American struggle for peace during the 1980s and 1990s and brought together former Guatemalan and Costa Rican presidents, foreign ministers, UN secretaries, former guerilla leaders and more than 30 prominent international leaders and Central American figures.
In his opinion, the two years of hands-on experience organizing the conference was invaluable. During that time, Artiņano, along with other Tufts students, worked with the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership, Tufts University College of Citizenship and Public Service, the Project on Justice in Times of Transition and the International Center of Toledo, Spain.
"I definitely think you learn so much more through practical experiences and experience-based learning," says Artiņano, who recently won the Wendell Phillips Award-an honor affording its recipient the opportunity to speak at commencement. "That's why I feel Tufts is such a great institution. It has tons of opportunities to do that."
While capitalizing on those opportunities to get involved at Tufts, Artiņano has maintained a 3.92 GPA. How does he balance these undertakings with academics and other extracurricular activities? Artiņano smiles and says, "There's nothing that really stresses me out because I truly enjoy what I'm doing."
And he's doing a lot. During his tenure at Tufts, Artiņano traveled to Nicaragua with Habitat for Humanity, served as the treasurer of the International Club, tutored for the Mystic Housing Projects, and coordinated the Tufts UNICEF chapter and Senior Service Day. He even found some spare time to co-choreograph a Parade of Nations dance.
These days, the senior is thinking a lot about his future. Not surprisingly, he has already begun work on his next project.
"The peace process was successful but it hasn't finished," he explains. "What I want to do with this conference is to retake this idea that the peace process is still going on and that we still need to work on it. The first one is lessons for the rest of the world. The second one is lessons for Central America."
The ambitious student, who was featured as the "Person of the Day" last month in Costa Rica's national newspaper, La Nacion, is grateful to Tufts for opening so many doors for him.
"This crazy initiative [the conference] I had two years ago would have seemed impossible to almost anyone. I was able to do it because of the support-financial, personal, intellectual, logistical-that I got from the Institute for Global Leadership and the University College," he says.
But it is the people he met at Tufts that he values most.
-- Michaelann Millrood