Unique field experience cements Peace Fellow’s desire to pursue human rights

By Rotary International

Laurie Smolenski, right, with her Rotary Peace Fellow class at the University of Queensland.

By Laurie Smolenski, 2015-17 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

I’ve just completed 18 months as a Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. A highlight was spending three months in Mexico City for my applied field experience. This is a cornerstone of the University’s Peace Fellow program, through which Fellows take on a project or internship outside of Australia. I interned with the Mexico City office of the MacArthur Foundation, which supports peace and justice initiatives globally.

Smolenski gives a presentation about her research into the disappearance of 42 students.

As part of that work, I researched the 2014 disappearance of 42 students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. The boys still have not been found and no justice has been served; it is clear that the Mexican state was involved.

I became fascinated by the response of Mexican civil society, which galvanized international attention and demanded a fair investigation despite state corruption at all levels. Were it not for the relentless work of everyday individuals, the Mexican government would have likely closed the case immediately; yet today, Ayotzinapa—albeit unresolved …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

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