Emilie Kao

Emilie Kao


Emilie Kao serves as senior counsel and vice president of advocacy strategy for Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the U.S. Legal Team. In this role, she supports ADF’s legal and legislative objectives through culture shaping initiatives.

Before joining ADF, Kao served as director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation. She led a team of experts who provided strategy, research, and policy recommendations on life, marriage, and religious freedom consistent with Constitutional principles. She convened coalitions of strategic partners to support the protection of religious freedom and launched the Promise to America’s Children, a movement dedicated to the protection of children and parental rights.

Emilie Kao is an attorney who has defended religious freedom for the last 14 years. She 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 and Becket Law.

Previously 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.

She earned an A.B. degree in Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages at Harvard-Radcliffe College and a J.D. at Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Supreme Court Bar and the bar associations of California and the District of Columbia.

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