Emerita Torres is a non-profit executive and former U.S. diplomat with experience leading high stakes diplomacy, national security matters, UN and multilateral engagement, public policy analysis, and applying data-driven solutions to address systemic inequities in New York and abroad. She is passionate about leading local, national and international stakeholders across sectors to support New York City’s recovery.
Emerita currently serves at the Vice President of Policy, Research and Advocacy for the Community Service Society of New York, where she is responsible for directing data-driven public policy and research to address the economic inequities facing low-income communities of color, working in tandem with grassroots coalitions, academics, and government leaders.
Previously, Emerita Torres was the Director of Policy Research and Programs at The Soufan Center (TSC), an independent non-profit center offering research, analysis, and strategic dialogue on global security challenges and foreign policy issues. While at TSC, she focused on analysis, public engagement and research on international and domestic counterterrorism, the global respond to COVID-19, and the proliferation of disinformation locally and globally. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at TSC.
Emerita has over a decade of experience as a U.S. diplomat at the U.S. Department of State, with tours including Brazil, Pakistan, Colombia, Washington, DC and our U.S. Mission to the United Nations. She also conducted official visits to Afghanistan, Senegal, Sudan, Gabon, and the African Union (Ethiopia).
In her role, she advised U.S. Ambassadors, cabinet-level and White House officials on policy and strategy, led and coordinated interagency communications and processes, managed multi-million dollar grant programs, provided timely political and economic analysis, created new partnerships and international relationships, and engaged in bilateral and multilateral negotiations with foreign counterparts to advance U.S. foreign policy goals. Emerita is the recipient of three Meritorious Honor Awards and a Superior Honor Award for her diplomatic service.
Emerita has provided expert testimony in the U.S. Congress and she has contributed to Politico, NPR, The New York Times, The World, Univision, SiriusXM Radio’s Press Pool with Julia Manson, NY1 Noticias, Gotham Gazette, and CBS. She has also published several op-eds and publications, including in the Gotham Gazette, City and State, and the American Foreign Service Journal.
Emerita holds a B.A. in History from NYU and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Truman National Security Fellow, and was recognized by New America as a Latinx National Security and Foreign Policy leader. She is an alum of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Aspen Institute, the New Leaders Council, and is a Young Leader of the U.S.-Spain Council.
Emerita is a proud Bronxite of Puerto Rican heritage. She was recently elected to be the State Committeewoman in her home district in the Bronx. She has hosted several community initiatives since taking up this role, including local census outreach, civic education, and COVID-19 recovery efforts.