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John W. McArthur is senior fellow and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution. He is also a senior adviser to the UN Foundation and a board governor for the International Development Research Centre. He serves as a member of the UNICEF Advisory Group and of Policy Horizons Canada’s Deputy Minister Steering Committee. In 2018 he co-founded the “17 Rooms” initiative as a new approach to catalyzing action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

He was previously the chief executive officer of Millennium Promise, the international nongovernmental organization. Prior to that he served as manager and then deputy director of the UN Millennium Project, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s independent advisory body mandated to recommend an action plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In that role he helped to launch global MDG policy efforts, coordinating an international network of nearly 300 experts who served on ten thematic task forces. He also oversaw a policy team that provided integrated technical advice to governments in low-income countries around the world and served as lead editor of the project’s final report, “Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”

He has also been a senior fellow with the Hong Kong-based Fung Global Institute, a faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and policy director at the University’s Earth Institute. Earlier in his career he was a research fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, where he supported the World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health and co-authored the “Global Competitiveness Report.”

In 2006 he proposed a new form of graduate degree to provide rigorous cross-disciplinary training for a new generation of sustainable development practitioners. This led to him co-chairing, in 2007-08, the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, an initiative sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation (no relation). He then co-founded the global network of Masters in Development Practice programs that has since been launched across five continents.

In 2011-12 he chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Benchmarking Progress and in 2013-14 chaired the GAC on Poverty and Sustainable Development. He has been a member of the Forum’s Advisory Board on Sustainability and Competitiveness and a member of the Global Futures Council on International Governance and Public-Private Partnerships. In 2009, he was recognized as a Young Global Leader.

In 2014-15 he co-chaired a working group convened by the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies, leading to the final report, “Towards 2030: Building Canada’s Engagement with Global Sustainable Development.” In 2016 he was an adviser to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. He has served as a member of the Global Nutrition Report's Independent Expert Group and of Grand Challenges Canada’s Scientific Advisory Board.

He recently co-edited the books “Leave No One Behind: Time for Specifics on the Sustainable Development Goals” (Brookings Press, 2019) and “From Summits to Solutions: Innovations in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals” (Brookings Press, 2018). His research has been published in a variety of academic journals, including Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review, The Lancet, The British Medical Journal (BMJ), World Development, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Global Policy, The Review of International Organizations, and Ecological Economics. His writing for more general audiences has appeared in venues such as Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post, The Bangkok Post, The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Horizons, GOOD Magazine, Global Brief, Policy Options, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. His work and perspectives have been cited across major media outlets including The Economist, Financial Times, CNN, BBC, CBC, NPR, USA Today, CCTV, U.S. News & World Report, Maclean’s, Bloomberg, Reuters, Scientific American, Le Monde, Al-Jazeera, and the Washington Post.

John grew up in Vancouver and is a Canadian citizen. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) at the University of British Columbia; a master’s in Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and then an M.Phil. and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) in economics at Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

John W. McArthur is senior fellow and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at the Brookings Institution. He is also a senior adviser to the UN Foundation and a board governor for the International Development Research Centre. He serves as a member of the UNICEF Advisory Group and of Policy Horizons Canada’s Deputy Minister Steering Committee. In 2018 he co-founded the “17 Rooms” initiative as a new approach to catalyzing action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

He was previously the chief executive officer of Millennium Promise, the international nongovernmental organization. Prior to that he served as manager and then deputy director of the UN Millennium Project, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s independent advisory body mandated to recommend an action plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In that role he helped to launch global MDG policy efforts, coordinating an international network of nearly 300 experts who served on ten thematic task forces. He also oversaw a policy team that provided integrated technical advice to governments in low-income countries around the world and served as lead editor of the project’s final report, “Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”

He has also been a senior fellow with the Hong Kong-based Fung Global Institute, a faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and policy director at the University’s Earth Institute. Earlier in his career he was a research fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, where he supported the World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health and co-authored the “Global Competitiveness Report.”

In 2006 he proposed a new form of graduate degree to provide rigorous cross-disciplinary training for a new generation of sustainable development practitioners. This led to him co-chairing, in 2007-08, the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, an initiative sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation (no relation). He then co-founded the global network of Masters in Development Practice programs that has since been launched across five continents.

In 2011-12 he chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Benchmarking Progress and in 2013-14 chaired the GAC on Poverty and Sustainable Development. He has been a member of the Forum’s Advisory Board on Sustainability and Competitiveness and a member of the Global Futures Council on International Governance and Public-Private Partnerships. In 2009, he was recognized as a Young Global Leader.

In 2014-15 he co-chaired a working group convened by the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies, leading to the final report, “Towards 2030: Building Canada’s Engagement with Global Sustainable Development.” In 2016 he was an adviser to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. He has served as a member of the Global Nutrition Report’s Independent Expert Group and of Grand Challenges Canada’s Scientific Advisory Board.

He recently co-edited the books “Leave No One Behind: Time for Specifics on the Sustainable Development Goals” (Brookings Press, 2019) and “From Summits to Solutions: Innovations in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals” (Brookings Press, 2018). His research has been published in a variety of academic journals, including Journal of Development Economics, World Bank Economic Review, The Lancet, The British Medical Journal (BMJ), World Development, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Global Policy, The Review of International Organizations, and Ecological Economics. His writing for more general audiences has appeared in venues such as Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post, The Bangkok Post, The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Horizons, GOOD Magazine, Global Brief, Policy Options, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. His work and perspectives have been cited across major media outlets including The Economist, Financial Times, CNN, BBC, CBC, NPR, USA Today, CCTV, U.S. News & World Report, Maclean’s, Bloomberg, Reuters, Scientific American, Le Monde, Al-Jazeera, and the Washington Post.

John grew up in Vancouver and is a Canadian citizen. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) at the University of British Columbia; a master’s in Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; and then an M.Phil. and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) in economics at Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

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