Core Team


Maria Ivanova

Maria Ivanova is an international relations and environmental policy scholar specializing in governance and sustainability. She works on global environmental governance, US environmental policy, financing for the environment and the performance of international environmental institutions. Her academic work has been recognized for bringing analytical rigor and innovative input to the international negotiations on reforming the UN system for environment. As associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and co-director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability, she co-leads a U.S. National Science Foundation project on Coasts and Communities. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General, a Board member of the UN University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) and the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.


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.

Alexander Gritsinin

Alexander Gritsinin serves as Management and Governance Advisor to the Global Environmental Governance Project. He is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Alexander has over 15 years of international experience in scientific research institutions, corporations, and international organizations including 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.

Research Associates

Negusu Aklilu

akliluNegusu Aklilu is currently working as a 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 campaigns. He serves as the editor-in-chief of Akirma: A Magazine on Environment and Development and coeditor of the Ethiopian Environment Review, which he launched in 2010. Aklilu has also successfully spearheaded and played key roles in national and international initiatives for conservation and sustainable use of environmental resources. He co-founded and currently co-chairs the Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change, which comprises 60 organizations, and co-chairs 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 2011, Negusu received The Yale World Fellowship award and spent the fall semester at Yale University.

Michael J. Cole

NEP Bio Photo (1)Michael J. Cole is a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security program at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies and a 2017 Coasts & Communities NSF-IGERT Fellow. Michael completed his BA and MA degrees in Political Science with a concentration in comparative politics at the University of New Hampshire. As a research assistant at the University of New Hampshire, he examined riparian conflicts along the Nile River, human rights issues in extractive industries, the water-energy-resource nexus and global environmental and resource governance. Michael also worked as a teaching fellow at the Harvard University Summer School in courses on international relations and the global politics of resources. His research currently focuses on global hazardous chemicals and waste governance and the effectiveness of existing international environmental agreements and institutions.

Michael Denney

Michael DenneyMichael Denney is a scholar and a practitioner of international development. He focuses his research on agricultural economics, land governance, land-use planning, and value chain development. Currently, he conducts research in Ethiopia, where he also actively participates in agricultural value chain projects. He graduated with his BA from McGill University and his MSPA in international relations from University of Massachusetts Boston. He is currently a doctoral student in Global Governance and Human Security at UMass Boston and an IGERT Fellow in the Coasts and Communities program.

Anna Dubrova


Anna Dubrova obtained a Bachelor of Law and LL.M. from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine and LL.M from Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania. She also holds Bachelor in Enterprise Economics with a specialization in Enterprise Environmental Policy. She interned for UNEP in Geneva, where she was engaged in the development of, a United Nations Information Portal on Environmetal Agreements, and later worked as a consultant for an NGO assisting with the portal enhancement. Anna is currently a doctoral student in Global Governance and Human Security at UMass Boston. Her research interests include global and regional environmental regimes, compliance mechanisms, implementation of environmental conventions and sustainable development goals.

Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy

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Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy currently is a PhD Candidate in Global Governance and Human Security and Research Associate for the Center for Governance and Sustainability. Her research focuses on the role of global environmental conventions in protecting the environment and the implementation of environmental and sustainable development goals. She previously worked for several public administrations and for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombia. Since 2009 she works for Universidad EAFIT in Medellín (Colombia), where she led a research project on the role of biodiversity in developing countries foreign policies. She joined the Center for Governance and Sustainability as research associate in 2011. She has a BA in International Business from Universidad EAFIT (Colombia) and a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Candace Famiglietti

NEP Bio Photo (1)Candace Famiglietti is a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security Program at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston and NSF IGERT Coasts and Communities Fellow. She holds an MS in International Studies with a focus in International Human Development, Society, and Education, as well as a BS in Finance and a minor in International Business from Oklahoma State University. During her graduate studies, she co-founded the social enterprise, EbenGroup, where she worked as a managing partner for seven years helping children in war-torn regions gain access to peace-based education. Her research interests lie at the science-policy interface as it pertains to environmental policy, human development and sustainability.

Nadezhda Filimonova

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Nadezhda Filimonova holds a BA and MA in International Relations from St. Petersburg State University (Russia). She also holds an MA in Political Science and International Relations from Uppsala University (Sweden). Ms. Filimonova has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Fulbright Scholarship for Russian International Education Administrators. She is currently a doctoral student in Global Governance and Human Security at UMass Boston. Her research interests include geopolitics and regime-building in the Arctic, Arctic environmental governance, the Arctic policy of Russia and non-Arctic states, the domestic and international policy of Arctic cities.

Timothy Johnson

gegp-timothy-profile-pictureTimothy Johnson is a grad student in the IR program at UMass-Boston focusing on environmental degradation.  Prior to UMass-Boston he completed a teaching fellowship with SENA in Bogotá, Colombia, conducting research into the infrastructure and practice of waste management in the city while teaching English as a work diversification tool to apprentices from underserved communities.  He has also served as an Environmental Fellow with the Environmental League of Massachusetts, advocating for at least 1% of the state budget to be allocated to the environment, and lived abroad in Turkey, Malta, Spain, and Costa Rica.  Timothy received his BS in Communication from Boston University.

Eike Schmedt

Eike Schmedt Eike_Schmedtreceived his BA in European Ethnology / Cultural Studies and Philosophy at the University of Kiel and his MA in World Heritage Studies at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg in Germany. From 2012 to 2015 he worked as an assistant at the Chair of Intercultural Studies/UNESCO Chair in Heritage Studies at BTU where he worked on several projects and taught various classes to master’s students. His research interests include transnational cooperation and projects as well as the analysis of cultural policy frameworks in the context of global governance. He is currently a PhD student in the Global Governance and Human Security program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His dissertation research focusses on the comparative assessment of World Heritage Sites and the significance of governance structures to ensure their adequate protection for future generations.

Wondwossen S. Wondemagegnehu

wondemagegnehuWondwossen 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.  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.