Class XIV (2016-2017)

7. LEANNE SIMON

Sponsor Club: Durham Sunrise Rotary Club, North Carolina, USA, District 7710 

Host Club: Rotary Club of Loganholme, Loganholme, AUS, District 9630 

Leanne works with very young children (3-11yo) in peace education, cultural awareness and food justice, and also takes freelance assignments in documentary video and socio-political blog writing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, with a concentration in child rights, a Bachelor of Science in Spanish, and is on leave-of-absence from a Master of Art program in Peace & Conflict Studies in order to pursue a Master of International Studies in Peace & Conflict Resolution from UQ. Using documentary arts, oral history, and creative nonfiction, Leanne continues to advocate for and ally with local and international groups to share healing and reconciliatory narratives. Her work has taken her to Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia and highlights the effects of transnational corporations and their policies on violence, scarcity and immigration.

Another experience that impacted her direction was a week-long full-immersion conflict simulation. Participants were required to design and build a humanitarian space in an active conflict zone, manage wounded and cholera-stricken refugees, and negotiate with government agents, military officials, prison wardens and leaders of an opposition militia group. In this, Leanne realized a passion for emergency management, and a focus on stabilization and safety for women and children in fragile zones. The mother of two young boys, Leanne can often be found climbing trees, riding bicycles and all-around adventuring. In her “spare” time, she writes and is in the process of editing a memoir.