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Maria Ivanova is international relations and environmental policy scholar. For twelve years, she served at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she directed the Center for Governance and Sustainability and the PhD program in Global Governance and Human Security. From July 2022, she is appointed as Professor of Public Policy and Director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs (SPPUA) in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern University. 

Her work focuses on the performance of international institutions, implementation of international environmental agreements, and sustainability. Ivanova’s career, marked by teaching excellence and policy leadership, has bridged academia and policy. Her academic work has been recognized for bringing analytical rigor and innovative input to the international negotiations on reforming the UN system for environment. She works closely with national governments, UN agencies, and convention secretariats in providing an academic perspective into their international environmental governance work. She has been studying the United Nations Environment Programme and her book, The Untold Story of the World's Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty, was published by MIT Press in 2021. Her current work examines national performance on global environmental conventions, and she engages with countries in East Africa to inform policy.

From 2014 to 2016, Ivanova served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. In 2018, she chaired the jury for the $5 million New Shape Prize for global governance by the Global Challenges Foundation. In 2020, she began a four-year term on the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). In 2022, she served on the Rwandan delegation to the UN Environment Assembly negotiating the resolution on a global treaty on plastics and co-chaired the drafting process for the official letter from scientists and scholars of the world to global leaders at the Stockholm+50 Conference, calling for urgent policy action for a sustainable planet. 


In June 2022, Ivanova was named one of 66 inaugural Foundation Fellows of the International Science Council, the highest honor awarded by the Council in recognition of remarkable contributions to the role of science in promoting the global public good. She is a member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability co-chaired by Helen Clark and Irina Bokova. She is also an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, a member of the Executive Science Organizing Committee for the WCRP Open Science Conference (to take place in October 2023 in Rwanda), and an Ambassador for Transparency International. She serves as a Research Scholar at the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), on the External Advisory Board of the Environmental Solutions Initiative at MIT, on the Sustainability Advisory Council at Yale University, and on the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G2) Advisory Group. 

Ivanova served as a coordinating lead author of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), the flagship UN environmental assessment. She is also the editor of the Governance and Sustainability Issue Brief Series and of the Global Leadership Dialogues and serves on the editorial board of the Global Environmental Politics journal.


She was a Co-PI of a $3.1mln National Science Foundation program on Coasts and Communities training doctoral students as environmental problem solvers and focusing on the complex interactions of natural and human systems in urban and urbanizing coastal areas across Massachusetts Bay and in Eastern Africa. 


From 2005 to 2010, Maria Ivanova was on the faculty at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Previously, she worked at the Environment Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris and at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in Stockholm. She is the recipient of the 2007 Professor of the Year Award from Member 13 at the College of William and Mary, the 2010 Mary Lyon Award from Mount Holyoke College, and the 2010 Goddess Artemis Award from the Euro-American Women’s Council.


Ivanova holds a PhD (with distinction) and two master's degrees, in international relations and environmental management, from Yale University, and a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College. See also for the projects of the Center for Governance and Sustainability. 

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