Clara Bonzi Teixeira

Clara Bonzi Teixeira is a senior at Duke University pursuing a major in Public Policy, a minor in Political Science, and a certificate in Human Rights.

Why did you choose to pursue the human rights certificate? 

I have always had a strong interest in human rights and pursued numerous courses at Duke before realizing that there was a certificate program. It seemed like a no-brainer to join the certificate program because it allowed me to further delve into human rights topics while having other students and mentors to collaborate with and learn from.

What was the most transformative experience you had while studying human rights at Duke? 

Right now I’m working on a project for a class I’m taking this semester, “Business & Human Rights” - our goal is to write a brief on wage theft in North Carolina for a non-profit named Carolina Forward. So far, it’s been a really great experience in that I have been able to gain a better understanding of the realities faced by North Carolinian workers, who have dismally few protections under state law. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work directly with a local organization with a progressive vision and experience operating under NC policies. Overall, this experience has allowed me to interact more closely with the larger community outside of Duke, which is invaluable.

How has the human rights certificate helped you grow both academically and personally? 

The certificate brings together students who have worked on human rights topics in a variety of disciplines, which I feel has helped me become more well-rounded in my own understanding of human rights. It also provides a valuable connection to Duke alumni that work in the field, which will no doubt be instrumental to my post-grad job search!

How do you plan to integrate human rights into your work in the future? 

I’m really interested in doing equity policy work postgrad. Studying public policy in tandem with human rights has really illuminated the role that policymaking can play in protecting against abuses. However, policies can fail to make real change when they are not designed and implemented in equitable ways. I’m excited to explore more equitable policy models in the future and am certain that my human rights coursework will provide a very relevant backdrop.

Do you have any advice for students considering the human rights certificate?

I would say, if you find yourself drawn to a lot of classes that have a human rights focus, don’t wait to get involved. I joined the Certificate as a senior and definitely regret taking so long to get in touch.