Karl Fickenscher

As Interviewed by Alice S., April 29, 2019
"The struggle for human rights, for human dignity is constant and it needs to be reinvented every generation, it has to be defended every generation. "
Karl Fickenscher

Introductory Profile: About Karl Fickenscher

For the Firsthand history project, I interviewed Karl Fickenscher, my mom’s cousin’s husband. He has worked for USAID [United States Aid for International Development] as both a manager and lawyer to help countries in transition throughout the world.

As a USAID employee Karl has received grants from the government to travel around the globe to help third world countries. He helps countries build education systems, banks, clean water reserves, and anything else that the country is struggling with. While he knows the job is hard, being able to help inspiring people around the globe is the reward. One of the places Karl found most rewarding was South Africa.

He has been to South Africa a couple times and always feels fulfilled afterwards. He told me that he can see the legacy of apartheid everyday but he also sees a country working hard toward reconstruction. South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, so why are there still problems? Well, Karl believes that it isn’t the division of the races that is hurting the country, but the economic division.

In this Interview, Karl tells stories of his time in South Africa. He talks about the inspiring people he met, the things he did to help, and the rewarding opportunities.