Class XIV (2016-2017)

8. LAURIE SMOLENSKI

Sponsor Club: Grosse Pointe Rotary Club, Michigan, USA, District 6400 

Host Club: Rotary Club of Bribie Island, Bribie Island, AUS 9600 

Laurie is from Detroit, Michigan. 

Her core interests lie in immigration, and before coming to Brisbane she worked as the Development Manager at the New York Immigration Coalition, a statewide policy and advocacy coalition that advocates for the rights of immigrants and refugees. She previously obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations with a focus on women’s rights and migration from the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain through a Rotary Global Grant. Her international experience includes working with female human trafficking survivors in Spain and indigenous women in the Solomon Islands, and she has collaborated with Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department around immigration and human trafficking.

An avid writer, Laurie has been a regular contributor to Waging Nonviolence, a publication with international readership that examines nonviolence and global struggles for justice through peace. As part of the Peace and Conflict Studies program, she hopes to learn quantitative methods and how mapping and statistics can advance social change, and to further explore current opportunities and challenges posed by immigration, particularly in the context of the United States and Europe. Laurie has been involved in Rotary since her childhood, and her family has hosted more than fifteen Rotary youth exchange students.