Pioneering lawyer and scholar Emily E. Arnold-Fernández is the founder of Asylum Access, the leading global refugee human rights organization. She served as CEO from the organization’s inception in 2005 until 2022.  Her tenure saw Asylum Access successfully catalyze changes to state and multilateral policies and practices that impacted over a million refugees worldwide, dismantling barriers that keep refugees from living safely, moving freely, working, attending school and participating in the decisions that affect their lives. 

Emily also teaches in the areas of refugee studies, human rights law, and social change leadership.  She has served as an adjunct professor, social entrepreneur in residence, or co-curricular instructor at institutions including Stanford University (Stanford Law School), York University (Faculty of Law), University of San Francisco (McLaren School of Management), Pomona College (Draper Center for Community Partnerships), and University of London (School of Advanced Study).  She has spoken at conferences around the world and has published in a range of academic publications as well as those aimed at policymakers and the general public.

Emily's achievements have earned her numerous accolades, including the Equality and Nondiscrimination Award from Mexico's National Council to Prevent Discrimination (2016); the prestigious Grinnell Prize (2013); and recognition by the Dalai Lama as one of 50 “Unsung Heroes of Compassion” (2009).  She served on the Advisory Board of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University from 2014 to 2017, and holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Pomona College.