Brandt School Universität Erfurt

Laura-Lee Smith

Doctoral Student


Laura-Lee Smith is a doctoral candidate at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy (University of Erfurt) and a Research Associate at SRH Hochschule Berlin for the International Business Administration program.

Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Heike Grimm, her dissertation topic is "An Empirical Study of Local Security in Afghanistan, 2008-2013".

Laura-Lee holds a M.A. in International Relations and Diplomacy from the American Graduate School in Paris (University of Arcadia), and a second French Master’s degree (Master II) in Diplomacy and Strategic Negotiations from l'Université de Paris Sud – XI, Paris, France. Her M.A. thesis focuses on the efficacy of nuclear-deterrent economic sanctions and the role of direct diplomacy in the US-Iran case. Prior to these degrees, she graduated with honors from Drexel University with B. Sc. in Business Administration, Pennsylvania, USA.

Laura-Lee specializes in foreign and security policy and acquired professional experience at the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C., Académie Diplomatique Internationale in Paris, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik in Berlin. During her work experience, she was responsible for researching crucial problems in North Africa and the Middle East pertaining to democratic, labor and human rights issues.

For almost two years, she performed a comprehensive study about German public opinion on the mission in Afghanistan, which was generously supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Today she remains an active member of the Humboldt network and other professional associations, and presents her research at international conferences.

Her research interests include governance, international peace and security studies, and transatlantic relations.