Duke 2019 alum and former Wrestling teammate, Araad Fisher remembers some of his most impactful lessons and relationships from ACE in South Africa 2017. Five years later, Fisher also appreciates how ACE influenced his personal and professional development as he pursues a career in higher education and research on inequality.
What are you doing now? How did ACE influence your career?
I am currently getting my master’s at UNC and plan to get my PhD to teach and do research on inequality. ACE influenced my path by helping me further open my eyes to life in the global context. There’s almost 8 billion people on this planet and whether you know it or not, we all go through a lot of the same experiences. On the other hand, we live a very privileged life in the US. Seeing the contrast of privilege between the US and my ACE trip and my other international travels has sparked a passion in me to further understand and contribute to solving these systemic inequalities.
“Seeing the contrast of privilege between the US and my ACE trip and my other international travels has sparked a passion in me to further understand and contribute to solving these systemic inequalities.”
– Araad Fisher, ACE in South Africa 2017
What was the most meaningful part of your ACE experience?
Sean Tate (ACE in South Africa 2017 teammate) and I developed a very close friendship. We ended up becoming roommates for our senior years and we still stay in touch and see each other often.
Share a lesson you learned from your ACE experience that still holds true today:
My ACE experience reinforced a lesson that I had been taught all my life – the oneness of humanity. Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc. – we all laugh, cry, and love the same. South Africa’s beautiful diversity of people from all sorts of background made me realize this. Khoisan, Xhosa, and Zulu natives, in addition to Indians and Malays among others – offer beauty in their distinct languages, cultures, and histories. It is not despite, but through these differences that we are One.
Share a fun ACE memory:
Singing with the cohort. All. The. Time. On the bus to work. Walking around town. At the house. Karaoke.
Describe your ACE experience in as few words as possible:
What’s one thing you want people to know about ACE?
Travel and civic engagement, via ACE or other amazing programs like it, will do a lot for your self- development.
What’s your hope for the future of ACE? What advice do you have for future ACE participants?
In all things, keep an open mind. Let go of your previous thoughts and convictions. Listen and engage in constructive dialogue.