Sita Conde is a senior at Duke University pursuing a major in English and a certificate in Human Rights.
Why did you choose to pursue the human rights certificate?
I chose to pursue the human rights certificate because I am passionate about social justice issues, and I wanted the opportunity to learn more about formative human rights legal documents, pioneering human rights activists, and critiques of the human rights-based approach. Furthermore, I knew the courses in the Human Rights department would help expand my perception of human rights issues with which I was less familiar, and I was excited about that opportunity.
What was the most transformative experience you had while studying human rights at Duke?
My most transformative experience was in my Introduction to Human Rights class. I really appreciated the day we discussed the Death Penalty, and had Chanton (a writer featured in Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row) who was incarcerated on North Carolina’s Death Row even as he spoke on the phone with the class. He gave a firsthand recount of life within the North Carolina prison system that really shaped how I looked at the death penalty and incarceration moving forward.
How has the human rights certificate helped you grow both academically and personally?
The human rights certificate has helped me grow both academically and personally in that I have realized I have a genuine passion for ensuring corporations abide by human rights regulations. In whatever career path I pursue, I aim to push for sustainable development goals that connect to human rights, like “reduced inequalities,” “peace, justice and strong institutions,” and “gender equality.”
How do you plan to integrate human rights into your work in the future?
I plan to integrate human rights into my work in the future by going into project management and working on social justice-focused projects, or pursuing business human rights law.
Do you have any advice for students considering the human rights certificate?
Be open to any and all human rights courses that interest you. Do not be afraid to explore a new topic or issue – there is beauty in taking a class where you get to learn and listen from those around you!