Emerson Sykes

Legal Advisor - Africa
Washington, D.C. (ICNL Headquarters)


Emerson is the Legal Advisor for Africa programs at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). He provides technical legal assistance and training to African civil society leaders, government officials, law students, and other stakeholders to improve the legal framework protecting the freedom of association, assembly and expression. Since joining ICNL in 2013, Emerson has managed programs in more than 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and worked on the regional level with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. Prior to joining ICNL, Emerson served as Assistant General Counsel to the New York City Council. In 2011, he was as Senior Policy Fellow in the office of a Member of Parliament in Ghana. Emerson previously conducted research and wrote about US foreign policy for The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, and worked for the National Democratic Institute's Central and West Africa Team.

Emerson holds a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar for public interest law, and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton. He earned a Bachelor's degree in political science at Stanford.

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