Lejla Dervisevic

Lejla Dervisevic Profile Picture
Home Department:
Political Sciences

Mentor / Lab:
Dr. Swati Srivastava

Specific Research Area / Project:
NGO-Corporate partnerships in global environmental governance: Reconfiguration of authority of private actors

Research Profile:

More generally, my research studies the role of private actors such as NGOs and corporations in global environmental governance. International relations scholars increasingly study private actors as political actors engaged in governance. For instance, ENGOs and corporations has been central as these actors “create, implement, and enforce rules to manage global environmental problems” and produce “alternative governance arrangements” (Green 2014, 1; Hickman 2015, 1). As such, they are recognized as actors who exercise private authority in world politics (Avant, Finnemore, and Sell 2010; Falkner 2003; Andonova, Betsill, and Bulkeley 2009). In my research project, I focus on partnerships between private actors in environmental governance, specifically ENGOs and corporations.

International environmental nongovernmental organizations (IENGOs) have been involved in advocacy, monitoring, and creation of rules since the early efforts to address global environmental problems. However, some have recently shunned their historic antagonism toward corporations in favor of private-private partnerships. My research project examines ENGO-Corporate partnerships in global environmental governance starting with one of the most prominent IENGOs –Greenpeace – and its partnership with a German appliance manufacturer Foron. The project examines these partnerships, labeled as an ENGO-Corporate nexus, as opportunities for actors to reassemble their authority. I am particularly interested in understanding how these partnerships affect authority of private actors; whether they weaken or empower actors. The project develops a new conceptualization of authority reconfigurations as a tool for the analysis of the ENGO-Corporate nexus and its effects on distribution of authority and power between private actors in global governance.

Lejla Dervisevic Research Picture

About Me:

Education has always been important to me - both as an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to create a better life for myself and my family. I grew up in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that was ravaged by war in the early 1990s and remains economically unstable. As a low/middle-class citizen living in a country of only few employment opportunities, I knew that I had to invest in my education in order to live a good life. This realization that came early in my life is still the main driving force behind my academic/career ambitions. It pushed me to apply to a boarding school called United World College where I earned an IB diploma on a scholarship. After that, I was awarded a Shelby Davis scholarship to study at Westminster College in Fulton, MO. That experienced led me to Purdue after my mentor at Westminster (a Purdue alumna) suggested that Purdue would be an excellent environment for growth and interdisciplinary work. She was indeed right about that!

oining IGP (ESE) was perhaps the best decision I made. Being surrounded by great minds from numerous disciplines on our campus opened my eyes to so many things. Every class I took was filled with interesting, fascinating conversations. I was taken out of my comfort zone as a political scientist where I needed to engage in new conversations and communicate with colleagues/professors about unfamiliar topics. I also had the opportunity to get them interested in my research and topics that political scientists study. Interestingly, no matter the topic or the discipline, we all always had something to contribute. I find it valuable that I learned how to communicate across disciplines and how to bring something meaningful to diverse conversations. An especially memorable experience was in the Fall 2019 when my ESE cohort organized a symposium titled "Sustainable Development Goals: Are We Chasing Unicorns". Being a part of a diverse, dynamic,and extremely talented group of graduate student working on accomplishing a common goal was an absolute bliss. We deeply cared about the topic and worked hard to create an event that would inspire other Purdue graduate students to think about sustainable development and its prospects. Coming from different backgrounds, we were able to holistically discuss the topic and create an event that attracted students from all parts of our campus.

I think most of us dream about saving the world or solving one of the world's most pertinent problems. In fact, many of us join graduate school thinking that our work will contribute to such grand achievements. I like to think that I have become more realistic over time and aware that my work may not change the world, but that it may change a few lives. Teaching, in particular, brings joy to my life because I think that good teachers indeed change lives. My professors have and continue to play a central role in my development as a scholar and a person. Being able to play that figure for someone will make me feel more than accomplished. Helping students to become more inquisitive, more free as thinkers, more critical, more engaged in uncomfortable but important conversations - that is what I would like to do. Teaching/educating is a noble profession (when done right) and can (at an aggregate level) be a powerful tool. Therefore, I do hope to become a professor and build a career in academia.


  • OIGP Graduate School Summer Research Grant - Summer 2020
  • Department Nominee, Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (IQMR) summer workshop grant, Purdue University, 2020
  • Certificate of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research Award, Purdue University, 2019
  • “2016 Zika Outbreak in Miami-Dade County: Policy Responses and Risk Framing”
  • Ross Fellowship, Purdue University, 2017- 2018


  • "Autonomous Vehicles and Public Policy Issues”
  • Purdue Road School Transportation Conference and Expo, West Lafayette, IN, Spring 2020
  • "NGO-Corporate Nexus: Exercise of Power and Reconfiguration of Authority in International Relations” International Studies Association Northeast Annual Conference, Providence, RI, Fall 2019
  • "2016 Zika Outbreak in Miami-Dade County: Policy Responses and Risk Framing” Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs’ Spring Reception, Purdue University, Spring 2019. *** Certificate of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research Award.


  • Political Science Student Government Association, Purdue University, 2018- 2019. Vice President.

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