Maria Ivanova

Maria Ivanova is an international relations and environmental policy scholar. She was born and raised in Bulgaria and arrived in the United States in 1992 to attend Mount Holyoke College. She began studying international environmental policy as an undergraduate and continued in this field as a graduate student at Yale University. She pursued a joint master’s degree in International Relations and Environmental Management and then her PhD at Yale.


Currently, Maria is Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is also a visiting scholar at the Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT. Her work focuses on the performance of international institutions, implementation of international environmental agreements, and sustainability. She has been studying the United Nations Environment Programme and her biography of UNEP, A Revisionist History of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty, will be published by MIT Press in early 2021. Her current work examines national performance on global environmental conventions. Her academic work is informed by and informs policy at the national and international level. 


From 2014 to 2018, Maria Ivanova served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She was a coordinating lead author for the policy chapter of the fifth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5). She is the Chair of the Board of UN University’s Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. In 2018, she chaired the jury for the $5 million New Shape Prize for global governance by the Global Challenges Foundation.

Areas of Expertise

Global Governance, International Organizations, Global Environmental Conventions, Climate Change, Science-Policy Interface, UN Reform, and Sustainability in Organizations and on Campuses.

On the Record

"Interconnected world needs ways to turn alarm bells into action" Maria Ivanova and Amy Luers highlight the need, opportunity and challenges of leveraging the digital age to improve governance of 21st century global risks.

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Associate Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance

Director of Center for Governance and Sustainability

John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125 USA


Visiting Scholar, Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

© 2020 by Maria Ivanova.

Campus on the Common - UMass Boston lectures in downtown Boston 2014