Core Team


Maria Ivanova

Maria Ivanova is the Director of the Global Environmental Governance Project and Assistant Professor of Global Governance at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Maria Ivanova is an international relations and environmental policy scholar specializing in governance and sustainability. She focuses on international organizations, climate change, US foreign environmental policy, UN reform, and sustainability on campuses and in organizations. Her academic work analyzes the history and performance of the international environmental architecture and the evolution of US international environmental policy. Her policy work seeks to bring analytical rigor and innovative input to the international negotiations on reforming the UN system for environmental governance. She has published on governance, globalization, and the environment and produced three short documentaries on global environmental governance. In 2009, Dr. Ivanova convened the Global Environmental Governance Forum gathering eighty environmental leaders, including the five successive Executive Directors of UNEP. She was elected twice (in 2009 and 2010) to represent North American civil society at the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum. In 2010, she was nominated and selected as coordinating lead author for the policy chapter of the landmark environmental assessment – Global Environmental Outlook-5.

From 2005 to 2010, Professor Ivanova was on the faculty at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Previously, she worked at the Environment Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris and at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in Stockholm. In 2009-2010, she was Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, is the recipient of the 2007 Professor of the Year Award (from Members 13, a student organization 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.

Daniel C. Esty

Daniel C. Esty is the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University. He holds faculty appointments in both Yale’s Environment and Law Schools. He also serves as the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Business & Environment at Yale.

Professor Esty is the author or editor of nine books and numerous articles on environmental policy issues and the relationships between environment and corporate strategy, competitiveness, trade, globalization, governance, and development. His prizewinning recent book, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage, argues that pollution control and natural resource management have become critical elements of marketplace success and explains how leading-edge companies have folded environmental thinking into their core business strategies.

Prior to taking up his current position at Yale, Professor Esty was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics (1993-94), served in a variety of senior positions on the US Environmental Protection Agency (1989-93), and practiced law in Washington, DC (1986-89). In 2002, Professor Esty received the American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy for “pioneering a data-driven approach to environmental decision making” and developing the global Environmental Sustainability Index. He served four years as an elected Planning and Zoning Commissioner in his hometown of Cheshire, Connecticut. He has advised companies across the world on energy, environment, and sustainability issues and serves as the Chairman of Esty Environmental Partners, a corporate environmental strategy group based in New Haven, CT. He sits on the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.


Alexander Gritsinin

Alexander Gritsinin serves as Management and Governance Advisor to the Global Environmental Governance Project. He is the Science Coordinator at the Collaborative Institute on Oceans, Climate and Security (CIOCS) at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he seeks to create and maintain strong and interactive relations among scientific collaborators and to ensure that the Institute’s policy work is based on comprehensive contemporary scientific research. Alexander has over 15 years of international experience in scientific research institutions, corporations, and international organizations including the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, Uzbekistan National Center for Research in Oncology, Yale University, Coca-Cola, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), UNESCO, and the Nature Conservancy. He holds Master’s Degrees in Biophysics and Ecology from Uzbekistan National University and in Environmental Management and Policy from Yale University. He is fluent in Russian and English.

Melissa Goodall

Melissa Goodall is  External Advisor for Strategic Planning to the Global Environmental Governance Project. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from Antioch University New England. The topic of her research is Polycentric Approaches to Governing the Global Commons: the role of higher education. Ms. Goodall is also the Assistant Director of the Yale Office of Sustainability, where she oversees a portfolio of projects related to sustainability strategic planning. Before joining the Office of Sustainability, she was the Associate Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.  Previous to her arrival at Yale, Melissa spent five years as a project consultant, mainly working for UNDP on projects related to climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. She holds an MS from Antioch University New England in Natural Resource Management and Organizational Administration, and a BFA from New York University.


Negusu Aklilu

Negusu Aklilu is currently a PhD student at UMass Boston in the field of Global Governance and Human Security. His current research interests include the environmental dimensions of the growing BRICS and Asia relationship with Africa. Before joining the PhD program, he worked as environment and climate change advisor for DFID-Ethiopia where he moved after serving as director of Forum for Environment (FfE), a local NGO, for almost eight years. As director of the Forum for Environment and one of Ethiopia’s most influential environmental advocates, he provided strategic leadership for environmental awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns. Furthermore, he served as the editor-in-chief of Akirma: A Magazine on Environment and Development and co-editor of the Ethiopian Environment Review, which he launched in 2010. Negusu has also successfully spearheaded and played key roles in national and international initiatives for conservation and sustainable use of environmental resources. He initiated and led the National Green Award Program for more than five years, cofounded and co-chaired the Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change, which comprised about 60 organizations for more than three years, and co-chaired the United Nations Environment Programme’s Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance. He was selected as one of 13 Emerging Leaders of the Global Environmental Governance Project in 2010. In 2011, Negusu received The Yale World Fellowship award and spent the fall semester at Yale University.

Gabriela Bueno

Gabriela Bueno de Almeida Moraes obtained her Master of Laws degree in International Law from the University of São Paulo Law School in 2011, and concluded her LL.M. studies at Yale Law School in 2012. In 2009-2010, she was a Fox International Fellow at Yale University, where she conducted research about deforestation in the Amazon Forest and climate change, looking at the relationship between the forest and climate change regimes. She has worked as an environmental attorney in São Paulo and, more recently, as a consultant for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Her research interests include global environmental governance, and the relationship between the international and domestic legal and political systems. She is currently a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a research associate at the Center for Governance and Sustainability.

Murray Carroll

Murray Carroll is a master’s degree candidate in International Relations at Harvard University. He looks forward to continuing his research into strengthening environmental governance institutions and increasing the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement mechanisms in the environmental regimes. He is currently a Director of the International Court for the Environment Coalition and has worked with the International Maritime Organization, the Environmental Law Foundation, Sustainable Future Consulting at the LSE, the Government of Canada, and Scotia Capital, a Canadian Investment Bank. Murray has a law degree from the London School of Economics, has studied Alternative Dispute Resolution at Queen Mary University of London and Harvard Law School, and graduated “with Distinction” from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor’s degree in Political Studies.

Christine Cutting

Christine Cutting is a Master of Science candidate in the department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her research interests include sustainable development, global governance and leadership, as well as feminist IR theories. Christine is a Fellow at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she is the Program Director of the Correlates of Human Trafficking Project. She is a 2006 graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where she studied at the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict studies, achieving a Bachelor of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Studies and Hispanic Cultures.

Laurence Delina

Laurence  L Delina is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, an Earth System Governance Research Fellow, and a Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research interests are in international environmental finance and the future relationship between climate change and governance. He has published on issues surrounding these issues in Asia and beyond. Laurence held roles at the United Nations, the University of Manchester, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Japan, Land Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine National Irrigation Administration. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in public administration from Mindanao State University in General Santos City, Philippines. He also holds a master’s degree in development studies (first class honours) from the University of Auckland.

Michael Denney

Michael Denney is a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He graduated from Mcgill University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, and he competed his Master’s in International Relations at UMass Boston in 2013. Having spent a substantial amount of his life living abroad in Canada, Western Europe, Africa, and East Asia, Michael has developed an acute awareness of cultural diversity and its impact on politics, both national and international. His main research interests are land tenure, development economics, and food security. He grew up in Lexington, MA and speaks English and French.

Tse Yang Lim

Tse Yang Lim is a degree candidate for a Masters of Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He has an obsession with large-scale interactions and linkages, particularly between environment and development and between science and policy. He has previously worked at the Marine Conservation Institute in Washington, DC, on marine protected areas and the high seas, from whence developed his interest in international environmental governance. Most recently he worked at the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to the United Nations, assisting the 2nd (Economic & Financial) Committee and Ambassador’s Office. Tse Yang hails from Singapore, and graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a B.S. in Biology.

Matt McWhorter

Matt McWhorter is a Masters student in the International Relations program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In 2006 he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Government from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was during this time that he was introduced to Global Environmental Governance through courses taught by Dr. Ivanova, and subsequently worked as a research assistant. Matt’s professional experience is primarily focused in environmental practice: first with the Surfrider Foundation Beachscapes team in Rincon, Puerto Rico, and then 4 years working on a wide variety of water resource-focused projects as a Regulatory Specialist at an environmental engineering firm in Tidewater, Virginia. His ever-growing research interests include coastal zone management, marine ecology, U.S. foreign environmental policy, evaluating effectiveness in the global environmental governance system, and sustainable business practices.

Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy

Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy is a Colombian International Business professional, with a degree certificate in Political Studies and a MSc degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She worked for several public administrations in Colombia, including the Governor’s Office of Antioquia as General Manager and Deputy Director for International Business and Cooperation. She has also worked as an advisor to Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the 38 General Assembly of the Organization of American States. Since 2009 she has worked for Universidad EAFIT in Medellín, Colombia where she joined a project to offer new elements to Colombia’s foreign policy from the perspective of biodiversity international governance. She has authored articles published in Colombian public policy journals and a project oriented to evaluate the participation of developing countries on the Convention of Biological Diversity. Currently, she is a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She looks forward to continue working on the impact of environmental governance in developing countries.

Karen Powell

Karen is currently a master’s degree candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at the University of Massacusetts Boston and is on hiatus from her practice as an attorney in Massachusetts. Her prior career was as a college administrator and as an adjunct faculty member at a college in South Carolina. Karen holds a BA in English from the College of Charleston, a MPA from the University of South Carolina and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Yuliya Rashchupkina

Yuliya is a doctoral candidate in the Global Governance and Human Security program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has previously worked with Ukrainian non-profit organizations in the areas of human rights, accountable and transparent government, and involvement of the public in decision making processes. She has authored chapters in the publications on public access to comprehensive city plans in Ukraine, public participation in urban planning and preventing public schools closings in rural areas (in Ukrainian).She also worked for Office of Institutional Research (Univeristy of Nebraska at Omaha) and think tank Northeast Midwest Institute (Washington, DC). She earned her BA degree in Political Science and an MA degree in Public Service at East Ukrainian National University (Ukraine). She also holds Master of Public Administration degree from University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her research interests focus on accountability and legitimacy of global governance including environmental global governance, global public goods and civil society organizations.

Uttam Shrestha

Uttam Shrestha is a doctoral candidate in Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He is currently working on assessing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and livelihoods both at local and regional levels in the Himalayas. After receiving two masters’ degrees, one in Geographic Information Technology from Northeastern University, Boston and the other in Botany from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, he worked as a Research Associate at Harvard University Herbarium and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.

He is a recipient of the graduate academic excellency award at Northeastern University, a research fellowship from Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and research grants from the Rufford Foundation. He has published 5 peer-reviewed papers, one book, and several articles in popular press. His research interests are biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, environmental governance, land use and land cover change.

Wondwossen Sintayehu

Wondwossen S Wondemagegnehu was the head of Policy and Laws Directorate of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in Ethiopia before he joined UMass Boston in September 2013. At the EPA he was instrumental in the initiation and development of the Green Economy plan that has the intent to enable Ethiopia achieve a middle income status before 2025 with a zero net carbon emission.

Wondwossen represented the country at various fora including the ongoing climate negotiations where he also served as co-chair to the open ended meetings of the parties to the UNFCCC regarding Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and the reporting requirements in connection with them. He represented Ethiopia on environmental negotiations related to chemicals, hazardous waste and biodiversity. Between 2011 and 2013, Wondwossen was commissioned by the African Union Commission to support the team of African negotiators on the development of a global legally binding instrument on Mercury which culminated in the Minamatta Convention opened for signature in October 2013. In recognition to his active effort for voicing out the concerns of the continent he received the “Public official of the year” award in 2013 from an interest group known as World Alliance for Mercury-free Dentistry.

Daniel Zaleznik

Daniel Zaleznik is a masters degree candidate in the International Relations program in the McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston. He is currently researching the effectiveness of science-policy interfaces in global environmental governance, especially with respect to the United Nations Environment Programme. Other research interests include political theory, international relations theory, and philosophy of science.  He holds a BA in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University.