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Date and Location

April 15, 2024
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET


WAPPP Seminar: Behavioural Science at the United Nations Photo

The UN Secretary-General recently released a policy brief on "UN 2.0" which highlights the importance of behavioural science, listing it as one of five cutting-edge skills for the 21st century and noting it is especially key in creating forward-thinking culture. This commitment is reaffirmed in the Secretary-General’s 2021 Guidance Note on Behavioural Science and supported by the UN Behavioural Science Group, which brings together over 3,000 UN colleagues from 70+ UN entities and 140+ countries.

This session will focus on how behavioural science is being applied in the UN to policy, programming and administration with a focus on equity - and where the UN is headed next. 

Mary MacLennan is the Senior Advisor on Behavioural Science to the United Nations Executive Office of the Secretary-General where she leads behavioural science efforts. She is also the Lead of the UN Behavioural Science Group in the UN Innovation Network. In these roles she expands and supports behavioural science application across the UN.

As a behavioural scientist with over a decade of experience, Mary has worked in the foundational stages of government behavioural science teams and as an expert advisor to the OECD and UN Women, among other organisations. Mary is currently a Fellow at the El-Erian Institute of Behavioural Economics and Policy at the University of Cambridge and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics.


This event is co-sponsored by the Malcom Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. 

Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access may contact Laura Botero at or 617-384-7575 in advance of the program.​​​​

Speakers and Presenters

​Mary MacLennan, Senior Advisor on Behavioural Science to the United Nations Executive Office of the Secretary-General