My first introduction to the Carter Center was through a speech President Carter gave at the Atlanta Business Interfaith Prayer Breakfast some years ago. Now interning for the Center’s Human Rights Program, I work directly with their Mobilizing Faith for Women and Girls Initiative. Through this initiative, I assist with several projects in support of President Carter’s mission to counter the religious narratives used to justify human rights violations, especially against women and girls.

One such project is the development of a scripturally annotated Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Since its conception, the UDHR has served as a road map to guarantee the rights of all human beings. At the local level, certain faith communities have neglected rights enumerated in the declaration because of a misinterpretation of sacred texts. In an effort to address this issue, the Carter Center is aggregating scriptures that are in alignment with the UDHR.

Candler has prepared me for this experience in unimaginable ways. I entered Candler knowing that I would be pursuing a non-traditional route of ministry – my overall goal is to work at the intersection of religion and government to fight for the human rights of women and girls. I made the decision to come to Candler because I knew that I would have opportunities, such as the Carter Center, to explore ministry beyond church grounds.

In one short year at Candler, I’ve developed a deeper analysis of justice and equality. A deeper understanding of what redemption means for those who violate human rights. A deeper understanding of ministry that is informed by real-life situations. As result, my experiences at both Candler and the Carter Center have informed my decision to pursue a PhD in Ethics. It has been such an invigorating experience to merge discussions had in the classroom with work I’m now doing on the ground.