Laura Cools is a former Project Officer at the Knowledge Platform Security and Rule of Law, where she focused on providing substantive support to the Platform’s activities.
Before joining The Hague Institute, Laura worked at Impunity Watch on gender-based violence in Burundi. As Great Lakes Region Researcher in Bujumbura, she focused on conflict transformation for women and youth in Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern DRC in the framework of the Oxfam Novib “Peace Beyond Borders” Consortium.
In her prior capacity as Programme and Advocacy Officer at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court in New York, she contributed to advocacy efforts with the ICC, the UN and the diplomatic community on justice, peace and security matters.
Laura has furthermore consulted for OHCHR and ICTJ and has undertaken internships at the Embassy of Belgium to Chile and the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the United Nations in Geneva (Human Rights Council). In Peru, she interned at the UN Regional Centre for Disarmament and volunteered for the Pro Human Rights Association on gender-based violence.
During her studies, she additionally conducted independent field research on transformative reparations for female victims of conflict in the Greater North of Uganda and was a Research Associate on transitional justice at the Refugee Law Project in Uganda.
Laura holds an MA in Human Rights from Columbia University, New York, where she specialized in transitional justice as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. In the framework of a French-British dual degree, she previously undertook graduate studies in international affairs at Sciences Po Lille, France, and obtained a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations from the University of Kent, UK, with Distinction.
She is fluent in French, English and Dutch, and speaks Spanish, German and basic Kirundi.
The “Barundikazi” – the women and girls of Burundi – have been at the center of the current political and security crisis, as victims,…Commentary