#HumansofDukeSanford is a weekly series highlighting members of the Sanford community.
"'Live an upright life, and serve with all your heart.'
On the day of my high school graduation, my father wrote this sentence in traditional Chinese calligraphy and gave it to me as a gift. These words have since become a standard that I try to live up to. As the son of a senior Chinese government official living in Beijing, I had a privileged and sheltered childhood compared to most of my peers. My father, however, grew up in rural China during a much harder time. My grandparents were very poor. My father’s elder siblings had to quit high school to work as hard laborers to put food on the table. His younger sister was sent away for adoption because they did not have money to raise her. Only through their sacrifices was my father able to finish high school and go to college. He told me he has devoted his entire life helping the poor because he owes them everything in his life.
I did not have to go through anything like that. I had access to everything I needed, simply because I was born into an affluent family. However, my father made sure I understood that my privilege comes with a responsibility to help those less fortunate. I am privileged because I can choose what I want to do with my life. Many people never had the luxury of choice. I chose public policy so I can pursue a career that might help giving people the chance they deserve.
I believe that economic development, capacity building and international cooperation are the keys to combat global poverty and inequality. The classes I took at Sanford and my internship at the World Trade Organization have allowed me to expand my knowledge and explore my career options."
-Wayne Wu MPP’18