Melissa del Aguila is Founder and Principal of Navona Strategic Advisors, LLC, a boutique strategy and management consulting firm that supports mission-driven organizations seeking to achieve meaningful results in the areas of human rights, global affairs, public diplomacy, and social justice advocacy. Ms. del Aguila is a human rights lawyer with over fifteen years of experience in advocacy before international and regional human rights mechanisms, project design and management, strategic litigation, and applying monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) frameworks. An expert in human rights education and organizational development, she has managed a diverse portfolio of research and advocacy projects with partners in Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, Syria, Vietnam, and the United States. 

Prior to launching Navona Strategic Advisors, Ms. del Aguila directed the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law. In addition to providing programmatic and administrative oversight of Center operations, she expanded strategic partnerships, raised millions in grants, and worked with students and organizations worldwide to create unique experiential learning opportunities that develop human rights knowledge and skills.

Ms. del Aguila began her public interest career with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), where she supported national resettlement programs as a Research Associate and Policy Analyst.  She later coordinated legal representation for unaccompanied minors with USCRI’s National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children and supported complex litigation cases as a Summer Associate with Winston & Strawn LLP. After law school, she worked on strategic litigation to advance the education rights of minority groups in the Americas as a Research Fellow with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and she coordinated projects promoting gender equity and civic engagement in Central America as a Princeton-in-Latin America Fellow with the Arias Foundation in San José, Costa Rica. Over the years, she has also held numerous teaching appointments, including as a Refugee ESL Instructor at Emily Griffith Technical College and as an Adjunct Professor at American University Washington College of Law.  Ms. del Aguila holds an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University, and a J.D. and LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Cornell Law School.