Rona Peligal is the deputy director of the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, a position she has held since May 2009. Peligal helps manage Human Rights Watch's research on Africa, ensuring the quality and integrity of its investigations and strategizing on advocacy activities to promote human rights improvements in Africa.
Peligal joined the Africa Division after serving nine years as the organization's deputy director of development and outreach. There, she oversaw all of the organization's grant-supported work, which then constituted approximately one-third of its annual budget. Peligal has worked particularly closely with foundations and with high-net-worth individuals. As a consultant for the Open Society Institute, she conducted a capacity-building project in East Africa with non-governmental organizations working on human rights, women's rights, and HIV/AIDS. Peligal has also served as vice president of the Near East Foundation, which promotes community-based development in the Middle East and North Africa.
Before Joining Human Rights Watch, Peligal worked as the coordinator of an African women's writing project for The Feminist Press, a grant writer for Rutgers University, and a reporter and copy editor for the Central New Jersey Home News. She received a Ph.D. in African history from Columbia University, where she specialized in women's studies.