Director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Professor of Public Policy
Professor Ivanova is the Director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. She focuses on international environmental institutions, environmental sustainability, and the science-policy interface. The author of The Untold Story of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty (MIT Press 2021), she has published on global environmental governance, climate change, and the Sustainable Development Goals, among other topics. Her work has appeared in Nature, Sustainability, Ethics & International Affairs, Global Policy, Global Environmental Politics, Global Governance, and elsewhere.
Professor Ivanova’s scholarly focus encompasses the performance of international institutions, the implementation of international environmental agreements, and sustainability. Her current research examines national performance on international environmental conventions, and she actively collaborates with countries in East Africa.
Professor Ivanova served for 12 years at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she co-created the PhD program in Global Governance and Human Security and launched the Center for Governance and Sustainability.
In June 2022, Professor 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 was a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) member of the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability.
Professor Ivanova is also an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, a member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), and an Ambassador for Transparency International. She was a Research Scholar at the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the Sustainability Advisory Council at Yale University, and on the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative Advisory Group.
Professor Ivanova’s leadership extends to various international committees and organizations. From 2014 to 2016, she served on the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board under UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She was Chair of the Advisory Board for UN University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (IAS) in Tokyo, Japan (2019-2021), and Chair of the Jury for the $5 million New Shape Prize to reform global governance administered by the Global Challenges Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden (2017-2018).
In 2022, Professor Ivanova served on the Rwandan delegation to the UN Environment Assembly, negotiating the resolution on a global treaty on plastics. She continues to engage in the treaty negotiation process as a delegate of the International Science Council.
She holds a PhD from Yale University and Master’s degrees in International Relations and in Environmental Management from Yale as well as a BA from Mount Holyoke College.
As the Director of the Policy School at Northeastern University, Professor Ivanova is committed to addressing global challenges, particularly in climate action and plastics pollution. Her leadership emphasizes international collaboration, community engagement, and actionable policy, supporting a vision for a resilient and sustainable world.
- Appointed as one of 66 inaugural Foundational Fellows of the International Science Council in recognition of remarkable contributions to the role of science in promoting the global public good
- Innovation in Teaching: Community Engagement Award, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2018
- Ivanova, Maria (2021). The Untold Story of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
- The book is now available for everyone to read for free.
- Esty, Daniel and Maria Ivanova, Eds. (2002). Global Environmental Governance: Options & Opportunities. New Haven, CT, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Selected Journal Articles
- Ivanova, Maria, and Sharachchandra Lele (2022). “Fifty Years after UN Environment Summit, Researchers Renew Call for Action.” Nature 606, no. 7912: 30–30. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-022-01511-7
- Wood, Sylvia L. R., Amy Luers, Jennifer Garard, Ajay Gambhir, Kalpana Chaudhari, Maria Ivanova, and Casey Cronin (2021). “Collective Foresight and Intelligence for Sustainability.” Global Sustainability 4: e3. DOI:10.1017/sus.2021.3
- Ivanova, Maria (2021). “At 50, the UN Environment Programme Must Lead Again.” Nature 590: 365. DOI: 10.1038/d41586-021-00393-5
- Ivanova, Maria. (2020). “Fighting Fire with a Thermometer? Environmental Efforts of the United Nations.” Ethics & International Affairs, 34 (3), 339–349. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/S0892679420000404
- Ivanova, Maria (2020). Guest editor of special issue on “Global Environmental Policy and Governance in Sustainability” for Sustainability 12, no. 17.
- Ivanova, Maria (2020). “Coloring the UN Environmental: The Catalytic Role of the UN Environment Programme.” Global Governance 26: 2, 307-324.
- Andrew Carnegie Fellow, 2015
- Member, Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability co-chaired by Helen Clark and Irina Bokova, 2021-present
- Co-Chair (with Dr. Sharachchandra Lele) of drafting process for official letter from scientists and scholars of the world to the Stockholm+50 Conference, 2022
- Co-Chair (with Professor Jim Hurrell), Task Team on Climate Intervention, World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), 2021-present
- Chair, UN University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (IAS) Board, 2019-2021
- Appointed Board member in 2014
- Elected Chair in 2019
Related Schools & Departments
PhD in International Environmental Policy, Yale University
Master's in International Relations, Yale University
Master's in Environmental Management, Yale University
Bachelor of Arts in European Studies, Mount Holyoke College
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