Marlene Houngbedji graduated from the University of Paris I-Sorbonne (France) with a degree in Public International Law, received a B.A. in Political Science from Whittier College, CA (academic distinction in the major) then a M.A. in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, VT, which she received with honors while on active duty in the United States Navy.
Between academic endeavors, she worked extensively with underserved populations of the greater Los Angeles area (refugee families, asylum seekers, homeless families and immigrant battered women). Projects included working as a Program Coordinator for a refugee resettlement agency, acting as interpreter, translator and researcher on asylum cases for the pro bono law firm Public Counsel in Los Angeles and grants coordinator through the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, for the Los Angeles Library’s children literacy programs.
A U.S. Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan (OEF) with the Civil Engineering Corps as a public affairs representative, she is the recipient of a Navy CHINFO (Chief of Information) Merit Award for Excellence in Journalism (2012) and has now joined the reserves. She is particularly interested in acquiring expertise in refugee, humanitarian and human rights law as they pertain to African women in conflict-prone areas, while increasing her knowledge of peace, nation and state-building strategies in Africa.