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Home / Biography / Sonni Efron

As a fellow working on human rights and security issues, Sonni Efron researches, writes and helps develop policies and communication strategies to advance U.S. human rights policy She is particularly focused on targeting atrocity enablers in Syria, and on Internet freedom and digital free expression issues.

Prior to joining Human Rights First, Sonni was a journalist and then served at the U.S. State Department from 2010 to 2012. She worked first as a speechwriter to Secretary Clinton, and then as senior policy adviser for strategic communication in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, responsible for messaging and crisis communications and outreach to international publics, Congress and the media. She helped communicate U.S. policies on Internet freedom, Arab Spring issues, religious freedom, media freedom, the annual Human Rights reports, and various regional issues. She mentored junior staff in speechwriting, communications and new media skills for diplomats, and shared the State Department’s ‘Meritorious Honor Award” for helping advance Internet freedom policies.

Before that, Sonni was a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times. She covered the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign, was a foreign correspondent in the paper’s Moscow Bureau, where she covered the first Chechnya War, and then served as Tokyo bureau chief for four years. She was diplomatic correspondent in Washington from 20001-2005 and then served as assistant op-ed editor and foreign policy editorial writer. She won the 2007 Scripps Howard Walker Stone prize for editorial writing.

Sonni has a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and has at various moments been fluent in French, Russian and Japanese.

Featured Work

May 28, 2014
Updated July 8, 2014 European voters elected a new slate of representatives to the European Parliament, ushering in a new slate of far-right, largely pro-Russian parties. Many of these parties...
May 22, 2014
By Sonni Efron In the cradle of democracy, next week’s elections are not looking good — for Greeks, European unity or NATO. In local elections held Sunday, 16% of Athenians voted for Ilias...
May 19, 2014
Athens, Greece – Human Rights First today called for the United States to renew efforts to combat antisemitism and defend the human rights of migrants and other vulnerable minorities in Greece...