Laura Simms is an award winning performer, writer, and educator advocating storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation. She is a Senior Research Fellow for the International Peace institute at Rutgers University Newark under the auspices of UNESCO. She performs worldwide for adult and young audiences. As a spokesperson for storytelling she presents keynotes and workshops in conferences, villages, schools, universities and community events. She is a member of the Therapeutic Arts Alliance of Manhattan, and a senior teacher of Shambhala Buddhist meditation, Laura received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling, CHOICE award for best story collection and Sesame Street’s SUNNY DAYS award for work with children worldwide. She is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams’ at University of Utah, consults with ETSU’s CANCER STORIES project, and is spoken word consultant for Foundations, NGOS working in post disaster and conflicts. She recently appeared at the Newark Peace Summit and the Conference on World Peace and Values in Monterrey, Mexico. Most recent book is OUR SECRET TERRITORY: The Essence of Storytelling (Sentient Publications, June 2011). Laura is the mother of best selling author Ishmael Beah with whom she often lectures.