David Richard Rawson

In loving memory of David Richard Rawson
April 4, 1985 – July 28, 2007

In 2007 The Institute suffered the loss of a member of its community. David Rawson, a senior, passed away quite suddenly after graduation.

View a short slideshow made for David by his Friends.

David had been on the Program Committee and was integral to organizing the panel on “Global Governance and Multinational Corporations: Changing Roles and Responsibilities.” After graduation, he was planning to join US Naval Intelligence. Below are some of his reflections on the year.

“EPIIC has made me realize that the people who are engaged in the issues we have covered—pretty much everyone who lectured in class or spoke at the symposium (above all, the Padraig O’Malley types)—think on a far more complex and multidimensional level than any media outlet can provide. Their knowledge goes beyond the facts and sees the alternative ways forward, the conflicts of interest, and the moral debates that characterize global crises. Their insights are always changing and adapting to the conditions on the ground. Unfortunately, the centers of power in the world we live in are too confined to habit, ideology, and history to respond as quickly or creatively. Accordingly, EPIIC has set my sights and capabilities higher as I embark on a career of public service."

“With governance on any scale of power or degree of magnitude, there is complexity. There are no easy solutions to the challenges facing governance, only an interdisciplinary yet often puzzling web of linkages and synergies. In most cases, the robust solutions are more comprehensive and reasonable than the optimal solutions. This elevates the importance of the value of history and the study of history in understanding global problems. Without resorting to global government, global governance develops legitimacy by taking context into account—identifying historical analogies, avoiding making the same mistake twice, and extrapolating existing trends into the future, so we can be better prepared for them. As James Dewar suggests, these integrations help us answer the question, “How do we best act, not knowing what the future holds?”

“Rosenau and Globalization – My experience in EPIIC this year was shaped in many ways by this characterization of global governance and its tasks. I look at the world much differently than I did before the colloquium began. While at the time of his lecture to the class, James Rosenau appeared overly abstract, it is clear now that his words ring true. On one level, his query, “of what is this an instance?” prompted my approach to a research proposal on the Davos World Economic Forum as well as my analysis of Juan Enriquez’ The Untied States of America, which presents a host of problems that compel one to climb the ladder of abstraction in order to grasp their complexity. On a deeper level, two currents in Rosenau’s thinking resonate with how my own thinking has changed as a result of the work I did with EPIIC. He charged that conceptual jails develop the habits of thinking in absolutes and complete frameworks. Prior to the colloquium, my jail was most likely characterized by an American-centered view of the world, and more generally, a nation-state view of the world. While I had been educated in an intellectually liberal enough environment to realize this jail, EPIIC compelled me to really understand it and challenge it with alternatives. Habit is truly a powerful force in the world (e.g. the states-are-forever habit), but it obviates the fact that globalization is accelerating at an extraordinary rate and creating multi-dimensional phenomena."

“Rosenau’s second current elaborates on this truth, and it is that power, traditionally understood as material possessions and military capabilities used to control the behavior of other actors, does not provide insight into relations and interactions between actors. Taking new account of the nationalism that results from a local culture’s deep seated-ness informed my understanding of the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Rosenau’s insight also leads to cosmopolitanism, or broadening horizons, which is what led me to study abroad in China and learn its language, Mandarin, spoken by one-sixth of the people in the world. It is also leading me to discover the ways in which military and intelligence services are adapting to the messiness of the world by joining the United States Navy after graduation.”

EPIIC Teaching Assistant Matan Chorev commented on David’s impact on the class, “David was an outstanding student at EPIIC. This is no surprise to anyone who had any sense of his intellect, his commitment to learning things in depth and in comprehensive fashion, and his refusal to accept unexamined truths. What most impressed me about David is that he seemed to take his classmates with him on any exploratory journey related to the course. He was a good teammate and embraced the kind of learning the EPIIC program tried to promote in its students. I did not know David as well as his classmates and friends but I certainly observed with great clarity the degree to which they all respected, admired, and appreciated him. He was not an outspoken presence but always a steady hand, a reasoned voice, a passionate learner.”

Freshman Raoul Alwani wrote, “I met David Rawson after we took EPIIC together this year. We were in the same study group (Team EPIIC!!) which led to us becoming good friends outside of class. Besides his fiery red hair, what always struck me about David was his warm smile, easy laugh, and genuine concern about how you were doing even when you’d just bump into him on the way to class or around campus. He loved learning about new people and cultures, had a strong passion for music and had a great desire to make a positive change in the world. He had a strong mind and an even stronger heart in wanting to make a difference. He was always one for a joke, and you couldn’t help but reinforce his good feelings and powerful vibes whenever he was around. At EPIIC parties he would tear up the dance floor. In class he would give you a big smile. Outside of class he would give you a big hug. David truly did love people. It was part of his infectious charm, and we loved him in return.”

Sophomore James Nadel said, “David Rawson was many things. To me, he was a classmate who displayed commitment, unexpected diversity, modesty, and courage. Commitment for his model pursuit of the knowledge introduced to us in our shared academic environment. Diversity for the many times he surprised me with his musical, vocal, or dancing ability. Modesty for the lack of attention he sought for it. And courage for the decision at the end of his undergraduate career to commit the next chapter of his life to public service, rather than to immediately seek the business career he had long planned for. It is heartbreaking and unforgettable when someone is lost before they have experienced all those chapters. But any man could spend his lifetime gaining the love of as many as David did by only twenty-two, and still count his years well-lived.”

Born in San Francisco, California, on April 4, 1985, David Richard Rawson was the only child of David and Andrea Rawson. David, so full of life, passed away suddenly from a ruptured artery on July 28, 2007, at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.  David gradated with honors from University High School in San Francisco in 2003. He then attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where he graduated in May 2007 with a B.A. in International Relations.

David was a young man who loved and lived life to its fullest. To his parents, he was cherished as a son who was as loving to them as they were to him. They shared many good memories in their wonderful twenty-two years together. To his friends and all those who knew him, David was a fun, caring and interesting person with a genuine charisma that caused everyone to be naturally drawn to him. To know him was to love him. He had a wonderful energy about him that will continue in our hearts forever.

David was a precocious child from the very beginning. His parents introduced him to music at a very young age, and music became his passion in life. At the age of seven David began piano lessons, and by his teens, he was an accomplished classical and jazz pianist. He especially enjoyed playing the classics, including the music of Mozart, Gershwin, Fred Astaire and Cole Porter. Furthering his artistic sensibility, David also became a talented singer and actor. At University High School, he showcased his dance and vocal skills by performing in plays and musicals, including Oklahoma, Our Town, Girl Crazy and lastly, Damn Yankees, where he was the lead actor. He continued to pursue his musical interests at Tufts, where he was a member of the Tufts University Chamber Singers, with whom he traveled to perform concerts in Europe and throughout much of New England.

As a sophomore at Tufts, David was able to spend a summer in Talloires, France, where he studied at the Tufts University European Center and furthered his near-fluency in the French language. During his junior year, David spent a semester abroad in Hong Kong studying the history and politics of China. He furthered his experiences by exploring China for several weeks and studying Mandarin Chinese in Beijing. David’s intellectual sense was that of a reflective, serious and empathetic individual who cultivated a true sense of justice. He demonstrated a passion for the interplay of ideas and was able to engage his intellect as a key member of the Primary Source political magazine and the EPIIC symposium management committee. David was true to his ideals and represented the best combination of passionate intelligence and moral courage.

David was able to excel in everything he did. Not only was he academically and musically gifted, he could swing a golf club, ski and play tennis better than most. David was an inspiration and joy to know, and his memory will remain in the hearts of his friends and family.

If you would like to share your photos, stories and thoughts of David, email the Institute for Global Leadership at info@tuftsgloballeadership.org