Laura Emiko Soltis

Laura Emiko Soltis, Executive Director
Freedom University

About the Speaker

Dr. Laura Emiko Soltis joined Freedom University as a faculty member in 2013, and was appointed the organization's first Executive Director in June 2014. In this capacity, Emiko introduced a human rights framework and a horizontal leadership structure with an elected Student Committee and Board of Directors. She also established a movement leadership training program and expanded the curriculum to five courses in academic disciplines chosen by students.

As an experienced social movement strategist, Emiko works to advance the undocumented student movement by building bridges between undocumented and documented student groups, advocating for fair admissions policies in higher education, and cultivating intergenerational relationships between undocumented students and veterans of the Black Freedom Movement. Emiko continues to serve as the Professor of Human Rights at Freedom University, teaching classes in international human rights, social movement theory, and immigration history.

Emiko received her PhD from Emory University and wrote her dissertation on the role of global human rights strategies and local music practices in the mobilization of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an interracial farmworker organization in South Florida. As an active public scholar, she writes and lectures frequently on topics such as human rights advocacy, undocumented student activism, workers' rights and economic justice, and music and mobilization. Having served as a longtime student activist, Emiko is committed to mentoring undocumented youth and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective leaders in their own freedom struggle.

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