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Sonni Efron

Senior Fellow

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

Resource | August 14, 2014
October 14, 2014
Washington, D.C. - Human Rights First today said more scrutiny from the European Union and United States is needed to protect human rights in Hungary following this Sunday's local...
October 10, 2014
Washington, D.C. - Human Rights First today expressed concern over reports that Hungary’s antisemitic, anti-Roma Jobbik Party may win control over a number of municipalities in local elections...
September 26, 2014
(Excerpt) REMARKS TO THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE COMMUNITY OF DEMOCRACIES United Nations Sept. 24, 2014 Sonni Efron Senior Fellow Human Rights First Your excellency, Ambassador Leissner...