This interview was conducted over email with Naraya Price, a student enrolled in the Human Rights Certificate Program, by Zac Johnson, a third-year undergraduate student working for the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. Naraya is a Robertson Scholar studying Public Policy and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Zac Johnson (ZJ): Why did you decide to pursue the Human Rights Certificate?

Naraya Price (NP): I decided to pursue the Human Rights Certificate because as I completed my undergraduate coursework, I quickly recognized that the issues that I profoundly care about all exist within the scope of human rights work. By pursuing the certificate, I was able to see the interconnectedness of many social justice issues and how advocating for a rights framework imbues a lens of empathy and justice that extends beyond the issue at hand to all issues of oppression and marginalization.

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

NP: I think this certificate is so unique for its multidisciplinary and hands-on approach. The mentors within this program want you to find work that challenges and provokes you, and they give you the resources and space to do that. The people who pursue this certificate all possess really unique and interesting passions, and I think that is what’s so incredible about this certificate. There’s so much you can get out of this certificate, and there’s an option for anyone who is attempting to reimagine this world to be more equitable, inclusive, and safe.

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

NP: As I mentioned, the Human Rights Certificate allowed me to pursue all of my passions and see them as inextricably bound to human rights. The only way in which I could see the interconnectedness of these issues with the work of human rights was by taking courses in different departments with a variety of professors, all of whom continued to ground the advocacy of the issue within a human rights framework. The multidisciplinary nature of the program has allowed me to see the array of issues human rights manifests themselves within and understand why the broad advocacy of human rights is integral to all social justice work.

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

NP: I hope to pursue work at the intersection of education and juvenile justice. I’m passionate about ending the school-to-prison pipeline and providing quality education, resources, and opportunities to all students. Educational inequity and mass incarceration are both injustices that I’ve come to deeply understand through a human rights lens as I completed my certificate. After I graduate, I will complete two years teaching elementary education in DC, hopefully, go abroad for a few years, and then ultimately pursue a career in international human rights law. Therefore, I think the information and experiences I’ve gained from the certificate will continue to guide and inspire my career trajectory for many years to come.

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

NP: The most impactful moment during my time in the certificate was in Professor Kirk’s introduction course, specifically the lecture where Justice Dikgang Moseneke came to speak with our class. The semester before, I lived in South Africa and became frankly obsessed with their culture and history. To have the opportunity to speak with him and hear his story in-person was indescribable.

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

NP: The Human Rights Certificate has encouraged me to pursue a non-linear path. Furthermore, the Human Rights Certificate has enabled me to think more critically about structural inequities and pursue internships that equip me with tools to understands how issues manifest beyond the traditional scope. I’ve worked in rural Mississippi teaching 7th, 8th, and 9th graders reading comprehension. I’ve tutored women in the NC Raleigh Women’s Prison. I’ve worked in impact litigation setting at the American Civil Liberties Union, and I’ve done re-entry work with juveniles at Bronx Defenders. My path outside of the classroom has been transformed by the human rights certificate and the desire to understand how human rights issues become cyclical.