Emilie Kao, a visiting fellow for Heritage’s Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, is a national authority on religious freedom, which she has defended for almost two decades. Earlier this year, she joined the Alliance Defending Freedom as vice president and senior counsel, where she focuses on protecting life, speech, parental rights and religious freedom for all. Previously, she served as the director of the DeVos Center, leading Heritage’s policy work on life, cultural issues, and religious freedom.
Kao has worked on behalf of victims of religious freedom violations in East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and South Asia at the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom as well as at Becket Law. Before that, she worked at the United Nations and Latham and Watkins. Kao also taught international human rights law at George Mason University Law School as an adjunct law professor.
Kao holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College. She is a member of the Supreme Court Bar and the bar associations of California and the District of Columbia.
She has been published in National Review, Newsweek, and has appeared on C-SPAN, Fox News, 60 Minutes Plus, EWTN, CBN, and other media outlets.