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Maria Ivanova on Global Environmental Governance

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Maria Ivanova is an international relations and environmental policy scholar. She is a Professor and Director at Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Boston. In 2020, she began a four-year term on the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme. As of June 2022, Maria is one of 66 Foundation Fellows of the International Science Council and a member of its foundation council. Her book, The Untold Story of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty, was published in 2021 and is available free for open access. In 2000, Maria organized a convening in Bellagio entitled “Design the Elements of a Global Environmental Organization for the 21st Century.”

Being the leader of a School for Public Policy and Urban Affairs is a new challenge for me. I spend my day thinking about how we’ll progress as a school, and how we’ll move the public service sector further along. This latter question has informed my career path, starting in college. Back then, international environmental policy did not exist as a field. I had to create a different major, as an undergraduate, that brought these issues together. I even had to create that type of degree as a graduate student at Yale. My Yale advisor, Professor Dan Esty, and I created the Global Environmental Government Project, a series of convenings for the MacArthur Foundation, with a budget of $50,000. The first global environmental governance dialogue I did was in 1998, in New York. Because I managed to put the convening together at half the budget, we did another one the following year at the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers fund [in upstate New York].

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