Marylene Smeets (1968) is a Dutch human rights specialist with passions for health, the environment, and writing. She combines her background and passions by working for the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in New York and dedicating time to what she calls her Health of People and Planet Project (HOPPP) in the early morning. HOPPP is centered around her memoir, Merciless Gift — Opened in New York.
Marylene studied law at the University of Amsterdam and international relations at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She has worked for the UN mission in Guatemala and the New York-based nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. She gained ample speaking experience in both positions, and has given presentations to a wide variety of audiences. She started her job in what at the time was called the UN Department of Political Affairs in 2002.
She took a course in freelance journalism at the Hogeschool Utrecht and a course in fiction writing at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York. She has written articles for, among other publications, the US dailies the Houston Chronicle and The Christian Science Monitor, the Dutch dailies Het Parool and Trouw, and the Dutch edition of Marie Claire. She has also written several short stories — including for her nieces and nephews.