Aaron Melaas is associate director of the Center for Regional Economics at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, where he conducts research and leads program development on issues such as international trade, regional economic development, and California’s place in the global economy.
Prior to joining the Institute, Melaas worked with McLarty Associates, a strategic advisory firm based in Washington, DC. As an international consultant, he helped corporate clients in multiple industries navigate complex foreign trade and investment challenges through commercial diplomacy. He has also contributed to research publications by the Center for a New American Security, Inter-American Dialogue, World Resource Institute, and Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
Aaron is also a PhD candidate in international relations at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where he is completing his dissertation on the effects of policy advocacy by industry associations in Latin America. He holds a bachelor’s degree in international politics and a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has lived and studied in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico and is fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish.