Lauren Jarvis, Humanitarian Challenges, Class of 2005
"As a freshman arriving at Duke in 2001, I simply could not know how significant my experiences in the *Humanitarian Challenges at Home and Abroad* FOCUS Cluster would be for my future academic and career choices. In FOCUS, I took courses that allowed me to compare instances of genocide around the world, consider policy solutions for the challenges facing displaced children, and interrogate the role of the written word in promoting social change. A field trip to Washington, DC and meetings with world leaders, including former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, complemented our coursework and further opened our eyes to the lived implications of our in-class discussions. The issues we considered were not easy—either intellectually or, often, emotionally—but they were most certainly worthwhile. Not only did I love the surprising connections that emerged in readings and lectures across disciplines, but the FOCUS experience also laid a foundation for my plan to balance an interest in the study of history with a commitment to doing human rights work. This is a balance that I am still working to achieve as I make plans to pursue a JD in international and human rights law as well as complete my doctorate in African History at Stanford University in 2012. It is my hope that my study of Religious History in South Africa will inform efforts to tailor human rights law so that it can better account for diverse social and cultural values."