The fight for human rights keeps Emily Holland behind the camera

Emily Holland
Emily Holland

Emily Holland is a TV producer, human rights law scholar, and co-author of “And Still Peace Did Not Come.” The book (due out March 22) is a memoir of a woman who spent her life gathering the stories of former child soldiers and their victims — both in her home country, Liberia, and in New York. It’s a record of Liberia’s descent into civil war and its subsequent healing.

Following four years at ABC News (“Primetime Thursday,” “Good Morning America”) and producing for CNN (“Anderson Cooper 360” and “Paula Zahn Now”), Holland spent four years producing advocacy films about the International Rescue Committee’s efforts to assist refugees in Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Darfur.

She worked on the Don Cheadle/Cathy Schulman documentary, “Darfur Now,” and reported on the post-genocide peace efforts in Rwanda with Tom Brokaw.

She’s written about Somali pirate hunters for Glamour, the Darfur crisis for JANE Magazine, Ethiopian micro-finance entrepreneurs living on the Somali border for Women’s Adventure Magazine, post-genocide peace efforts in Rwanda and Iraqi refugee resettlement efforts for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the plight of a band of Iraqi heavy metal rocker refugees for the Princeton Alumni Weekly.

She’s worked on the peace process in Cyprus, assisted child tracing and placing efforts in Rwanda, and researched the South Africa Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, Holland is pursuing her J.D. at Berkeley Law School, specializing in transitional justice and human rights. She also teaches street law to youth at a juvenile detention facility.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My dad’s job brought us to La Jolla when I was 12. It was incredible. Suddenly science class meant tide pooling.  Community service was something school not only made possible, but also championed.

What makes this area special to you?

That would be my family and friends and the many, rich memories we’ve shared here … and also, the Bishop’s School, which prepared us to enter the world while empowering us to change it for the better from our backyards.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

Maybe more hiking trails? My family knows Torrey Pines backwards, forwards, and blindfolded!

Who or what inspires you?

Children who have triumphed over adversity and all people who work for peace.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Nelson Mandela, whose hand I had the pleasure of shaking in 2000. I’d love to sit down with this man and ask him what advice he has for the world going forward. Also at the table would be Gandhi, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Francis Drake,

Pocahontas and Paul Simon.

What you are reading?

Law books! And, for fun, mysteries and spy novels. I also love Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

What is your most-prized possession?

Anything my family members have made, mixed or written.

What do you do for fun?

Hiking, biking, swimming, soccer, painting, dancing, hanging out with friends and family … goofing off with my little brother.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Seeing this book become a reality is a dream. Ideally, my co-author and I hope it will shine a spotlight on a group of young people who have bravely shared their stories and are working to overcome the unthinkable.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." –Nelson Mandela



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