Melissa C. del Aguila

Melissa C. del Aguila


Melissa del Aguila is the acting director of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law where she leads the programming, operations, and administration of the Center and oversees implementation of its global outreach initiatives.  Ms. del Aguila also collaborates with partner institutions around the world to advance innovative research initiatives related to core program areas of the Center.  An expert in human rights education, she works with faculty, staff, and alumni to create unique learning opportunities that develop human rights knowledge and skills, with the goal of enhancing all aspects of legal education and with an emphasis on curriculum mentorship, experiential learning, career advising, and professional skills development.

Ms. del Aguila develops strategic partnerships with civil society, IGOs, government agencies, and academia, in addition to overseeing the Center’s fundraising efforts and the implementation of all grant-funded projects that connect the WCL community with advocates, experts, and organizations working on the frontlines of today’s most pressing human rights issues.  With over a decade of project management experience and an expertise in monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), she has managed a diverse portfolio of research and advocacy projects with partners in Cambodia, Colombia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the US. 

Ms. del Aguila previously worked on strategic litigation initiatives with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to advance the education rights of minority groups in the Americas.  She was a Diversity Scholar and Summer Litigation Associate with Winston & Strawn LLP, and she coordinated projects promoting gender equity and civic engagement in Central America as a Fellow at the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in Costa Rica.  Ms. del Aguila has also held research positions at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and coordinated legal representation for unaccompanied minors at the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children. 

A.B. in Politics, Princeton University
J.D., Cornell Law School
LL.M. in International and Comparative Law, Cornell Law School

English, Spanish

University/Academic Service:
AU Latino & Hispanic Faculty & Staff Affinity Group
AU Office of Research Working Groups: Strategic Positioning; Research Enterprise
AU Washington College of Law Committees: D.C. Engagement; Public Interest
DC Committee of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations

Professional Associations:
American Society of International Law; 2021 Annual Meeting Committee
Global Alliance for Justice Education (GAJE)
Human Rights Education (HRE) Network USA
University and College Consortium for Human Rights Education