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Laurène Bounaud


Laurène has been seeking a voice for vulnerable communities long before her Humanity in Action Fellowship. In 2007 as a political assistant to a member of the French Parliament and eventually the Deputy Mayor of the 19th district in Paris, Laurène has worked to give communities a voice in national debates and making sure their political views are advanced to the legislative level. By 2009 whilst finishing their Masters in Journalism and Politics, Laurène was seeking new ways in which they could empower the communities with whom they worked. Upon discovering Humanity in Action and its opportunities, Laurène applied for the 2010 Humanity in Action Fellowship in Lyon, France. Laurène was so excited to understand how cultural, comparative and historical resources might explain current issues in a broader context and how to forge solutions to these issues.  

For their Action Project, Laurène organized a cycle of conferences titled RE: ACTION that took place over a span of two years. During these two years, Laurène helped to host 5 conferences with more than 15 speakers including senior fellows to discuss current topics and highlight the work senior fellows have been contributing in these fields. Laurène’s project was in collaboration with the International Film Festival of Human Rights and sought to bring both social change and justice.

“When trying to change the dynamics in the world to bring social change and social justice, we often have to face challenges that not only question your competences but also your values and beliefs, it is such a privilege to know you will always find kindly minded people to elevate and support you when needed.”

Laurène remembers the impact the speakers from their fellowship had on them and hoped to bring this concept into their own project as well. Following Laurène’s Action project, they worked with the Jewish Community Relations Council in the Bay Area of San Francisco to promote interreligious dialogue. Shortly thereafter, Laurène returned to France and Humanity in Action becoming a project coordinator and then a national director. Under this title, Laurène has been able to “help dozens of peers become agents of change in Europe and the U.S.A,” through the development of fellowship curriculum and fostering a community of senior fellows.

Following 5 years with Humanity in Action, Laurène decided it was time for a change, and started on a trip around the world to explore and try to learn from cultures around the world as well as reflecting and learning about themselves. Now back in France, Laurène is the Executive Director of Transparency International France, working to further anti-corruption laws and further democracy and ethics. Currently, the organization is widening democratic participation and engagement, reaching out to broader audiences, building flexibility and responsiveness and embracing new technologies. For Laurène, Humanity in Action provided them with “a space to grow and gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms leading to injustice, and the tools to fix these mechanisms.”