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.

Gabriela Bueno

Gabriela BuenoGabriela Bueno 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 global forest governance. She is currently a PhD candidate in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a research associate at the Center for Governance and Sustainability.

Laurence Delina

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Laurence L Delina is a postdoctoral associate at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University and an Earth System Governance Research Fellow. His work has appeared as articles in Energy Policy, Climate Policy, Energy for Sustainable Development, and Carbon Management, as chapters in The Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change and several books, and as a report for the United Nations entitled Assessment Report on Energy Efficiency Institutional Arrangements in Asia. Delina held a visiting fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School, consulted for the United Nations and the University of Manchester, researched at the Institute of Global Environmental Strategies in Japan, and worked as a development banker at Land Bank of the Philippines. He received the 2014 PhD Stipend Award from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict for his work on the climate action movement. He holds Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master in Public Administration from Mindanao State University in General Santos City, Philippines and an MA in Development Studies from the University of Auckland. Laurence is a citizen of the Philippines.

Miranda Chase

ChaseMiranda Chase is a PhD candidate in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Brasilia (Brazil), and a Masters in Integrated Water Management from the University of Queensland (Australia). Working with several rural fishing communities in the Amazon basin gave her hands-on experience with participatory research and community engagement. As a volunteer, she coordinates a research database and a team of translators for Remineralize The Earth, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture worldwide. Miranda is passionate about the Amazon. Her research interests are focused on sustainable development, the water-food-energy nexus and environmental policy in that region. In previous work, Miranda has analyzed how certain kinds of fishery management influence economic development among poor communities in the lower basin.

Jungwoo Chun

ChunJungwoo Chun holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University with a focus on global environmental policy. His primary research interest is in thinking pragmatically about bridging science and policy with respect to global environmental threats, particularly with respect to the extreme variations in climate. He has had training on issues of international environmental policy, sustainability sciences and economic analysis including statistical methodology. On a more practical side, he has experience in designing governance frameworks for international organizations and negotiating with multiple stakeholders on topics related to international waters and energy resources. He holds a BA and MA in International Studies from Korea University.

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.

Linda Holcombe

HolcombeLinda Holcombe is a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security as well as an IGERT Coasts and Communities Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She holds a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Marine Studies from Northeastern University and recently completed her Masters of Environmental Science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she focused on wildlife conservation and policy. Prior to entering her master’s program, she spent several years working with penguins, sharks, and other species in husbandry and interaction programs at two AZA Accredited aquariums and one non-profit exotic and large animal sanctuary. Her current research interests include international criminal networks, illegal trade and trafficking of wildlife, and the associated security and conservation issues.

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 BS in Biology.

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 candidate in the Global Governance and Human Security program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Eike Schmedt

Eike Schmedt received his BA in European Ethnology Eike_Schmedtand Philosophy from 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.

Jacey Taft

Jacey Taft Jacey Taft is a Research Associate for the Center for Governance and Sustainability and Graduate Assistant for Student Leadership at the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests focus on sustainable agriculture and sustainable water resource management. She has conducted research on permaculture in Sadhana Forest, India, and on the Ogallala Aquifer in the United States for her senior thesis project through the Honors College. She graduated from UMass Boston in 2014 with a BA in Psychology and Biology, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Relations at UMass Boston.

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.

Visiting Scholars

Elham Seyedsayamdost

ElhamElham Seyedsayamdost is a researcher and development professional specializing in the political economy of development with a focus on international organizations, multilateral diplomacy, and development policy. Her current research explores the variation in countries’ adaptation of international development goals to their national strategies. Previously, she was a Cordier Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). In 2015, she received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching at Columbia University, where she was also awarded a PhD in Political Science. Her dissertation, “A World Without Poverty: Negotiating the Global Development Agenda,” examines the political processes, interests, and preferences of international actors in creating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Her academic research draws on her international development experience working for UNDP and the World Bank in New York, Washington DC, Nepal, MENA and Southeast Asia. Her work has contributed to publications of various international organizations, most recently to UNDP’s evaluation of national achievement of the MDGs. Elham holds a Master of International Affairs from SIPA and a BA in International and Comparative Politics from the American University of Paris.

Marta Skorek

Marta Skorek

Marta Skorek is a legal translator and a second year PhD student at the Institute of Applied Linguistics, the University of Warsaw, Poland. She is currently working on her project dedicated to the discursive legitimation of integrated ocean governance in English specialized discourse. Her research interests include: integrated ocean governance, ecolinguistics, and discourse analysis. She lives in the city of Gdynia located on the Baltic Sea coast, which gives her a chance to experience firsthand the complexity of the marine ecosystem as well as the opportunities and challenges related to its integrated governance at the local, regional, and EU level. Apart from attending numerous sea-related conferences, she has written articles on blue wind power in Poland, and legal terminology related to marine environment management for Obiter Dicta, the British Law Centre newsletter. Last year she participated in the Bergen Summer Research School in Norway to study governance to meet global development challenges.

Yuan Zhou

Yuan ZhouYuan Zhou received her BA in International Politics from Yunnan University and her MA in Diplomacy in Beijing Foreign Studies University in China. She was a researcher at the Environmental School, Tsinghua University in China, focusing on the environmental policies, environmental emergency management, drinking water security and environmental governance. She is currently a PhD student in Beijing Foreign Studies University, majored in international relations. Her research interests include global environmental governance, U.S. environmental foreign policy, global water security, and gender in environmental issues.

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