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Laura Keen

Pearson Fellow Alum


Laura Keen, MPP'20, is a senior manager with Give Directly. She was previously a program officer with Results for Development.

While at Harris, Keen worked as a research assistant for Pearson Faculty Affiliate Austin Wright, and in the summer of 2019, she worked at Refugee Rights Europe in London, England as an Open Society Fellow for Rights and Governance. In her position, Keen contributed to an initiative designed to improve the welfare of young people in the UK asylum system and conducted advocacy work at the United Nations and British Parliament. 

Prior to her time at the University of Chicago, Keen worked in the supply chain function of Fair Trade USA. In this role, she oversaw Fair Trade USA’s global cocoa and sugar programs, aimed at providing additional investment and training to farmer organizations and large estates in Africa and Latin America. Her work focused on flattening power asymmetries between commodity buyers and farmers, helping to professionalize farmer associations, and improving working conditions for farm laborers. Previously, Keen worked in social enterprise in Peru, directing a pilot research initiative investigating supply chain autonomy and responsible sourcing as a preventative approach to human trafficking in the Amazon. Seeing how the vast natural wealth of the Amazon and the global demand for its products turned into an existential hazard for local villagers greatly influenced her beliefs in the unique role of thoughtful government policy to stop abusive resource extraction. Prior to this, she directed and led trips of volunteer students on mobile medical clinics in Peru and Ecuador.

Keen graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics. She developed a strong affinity for Latin America after studying for a semester at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. She speaks Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.