Marylene Smeets (1968) is a Dutch human rights specialist with passions for Latin America, New York and writing. She combines her background and passions by working for the America’s Division of the UN Department of Political and Peace-Building Affairs in New York and dedicating time to her book, Merciless Gift — Unwrapped in New York, in the early morning.
Marylene studied law at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on human rights in Latin America. She took a number of courses at the University of Idaho and obtained a diploma in international relations from the Bologna Center of The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. From 1994 to 1997, Marylene served with the UN mission in Guatemala. From 1997 to 2002, she worked for the New York-based nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. She started her job in what was then called the UN Department of Political Affairs in 2002.
In 2013, she went on unpaid leave to start writing her book in Amsterdam. Marylene took a course in free-lance journalism at the Hogeschool Utrecht and a course in fiction writing at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York. She wrote articles for, among others, the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, the Belgian daily De Morgen and the Dutch edition of Marie Claire. On behalf of the Committee to Protect Journalists, she published articles in, among others, the American newspaper Houston Chronicle, the Argentinian magazine Noticias and the Dutch daily Het Parool. She has written a number of short stories — including for her nieces and nephews.