This interview was conducted over email with Lizzy Kramer, a student enrolled in the Human Rights Certificate Program, by Zac Johnson, a fourth-year undergraduate student working for the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. In addition to the Human Rights Certificate, Lizzy is earning majors in Cultural Anthropology and Public Policy.

Zac Johnson (ZJ): Why did you decide to pursue the human rights certificate?

Lizzy Kramer (LK): I have always had an interest in pursuing a career in human rights which is what originally led me to the certificate, however once in the program, I found the human rights courses to be the most intersting and the most complementary to my work in Cultural Anthropology and Public Policy.

ZJ: What makes this certificate unique from other programs at Duke?

LK: This certificate is unique because it branches across many departments, like english, history, ICS etc. to make human rights learning as applicable to as many subjects at Duke as possible, which I believe is one of the most essential things to every department at Duke. I wish every student could take the introduction to human rights course before they begin their major.

ZJ: How has the multidisciplinary, experiential nature of the program affected your learning while in the certificate?

LK: It has given me the freedom to see how my interest in human rights can intersect with my other academic interests. This certificate has enabled me to find the interdisciplinary niche that is most suited to my interests and skills — the cross over of artwork and activism — and now I get to spend my entire senior year writing a thesis about that.

ZJ: How do you plan to use the information and experiences you’re gaining from the certificate after you graduate?

LK: I hope to use the history and understanding of human rights in action that I have learnt throughout the certificate in a future grounded in advocacy and social justice, whether that is through art, policy or some other form that I have yet to find.

ZJ: What has been the most impactful moment (lecture, activity, reading, professor, etc) you’ve gained from the program?

LK: Serving as the co-chair of the Student Advisory Board, I was able to sit in on department meetings of all the professors who contribute to the human rights program. Those meetings were some of my favorite memories at Duke as I was able to see all of the professors who I admire the most come together to brainstorm new ways to engage students of different backgrounds and departments with human rights thinking and work, right here in Durham.

ZJ: How has the Human Rights Certificate shaped your life outside of academic and professional settings?

LK: The human rights certificate has given me a home that I feel very comfortable in at Duke, which has been very important to me as I have wandered on my major path and been unclear at what inspires me most at different times, the human rights department has remained a space I constantly return to and engage with and every time makes me feel like I can connect to people similar to me and work that inspires me.