Michelle Riestra serves as Executive Director for CODESPA America in Washington, D.C. where she manages and oversees the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization.
Prior to joining CODESPA America, Michelle served as legal counsel advising Latin American allies on public international law and human rights issues. She also engaged in legal advocacy work at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and related international institutions.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Riestra earned her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in legal studies from St. John’s University in New York. She subsequently acquired a master’s degree in public health from the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health and her Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School. At GW Law, she served as a member of the student editorial board of the Federal Circuit Bar Journal and as a symposium editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. During her legal studies, Riestra also clerked with the Honorable Jay A. Garcia-Gregory, a United States District Court judge in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a Blackstone Fellow. She is admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia. Riestra is fluent in English and Spanish.