Dr. Ana Pantelic is an international development professional with nearly fifteen years of experience in policy and practice, who has guided and grown social impact organizations working at the confluence of systems change, innovation, and economic opportunity. Specializing in poverty reduction through the lens of finance, Ana has developed and enhanced national social protection systems in low-income economies, founded and scaled a successful tech start-up with proven social impact, and designed evidence-based solutions that allow public and private actors to work in tandem to achieve social impact at scale. Ana is the Executive Director of MIT D-Lab, which works with people around the world to develop and advance collaborative approaches and practical solutions to global poverty challenges through interdisciplinary courses, research in collaboration with global partners, technology development, and community initiatives.
Prior to joining MIT, Ana spent two years in Uganda with UNICEF as the interim Chief of Social Policy and Social Policy Manager, where she was responsible for the design, management, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all stages of social policy programming and related advocacy. She worked with the government to design more inclusive policies, spearheading the launch of the country’s first urban social protection program for adolescent girls, advocating for greater fiscal allocations to the social sector, and strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus. Prior to that, she spent nearly eight years withFundación Capital, an international nonprofit social enterprise improving the financial lives of millions of families living in poverty. As Chief Strategy Officer based in New York, she led impact and innovation processes globally and across the organization, increasing visibility through funding and awards (including from the Skoll and Schwab Foundations) and researching women's economic empowerment. Prior to that she oversaw the organization's digital solutions portfolio, and was based in Colombia as the founder of LISTA, an award-winning digital solution proven to improve the financial health of nearly a million low-income people across a dozen countries. She has also worked with the University of Belgrade, USAID, and the Spanish Ministry of Education on environmental policy, sustainability, and local economic development.
Ana's work has been featured globally in academic research and practitioner literature, case studies and online courses, and was even the focus of a documentary film. She has been invited to share her insights at conferences in more than 20 countries, and has authored several publications including the book "Disrupting poverty in developing countries" published by the Institute for International Politics and Economics in Serbia. Through her thought leadership, she was invited to work with the National Science Fund of Serbia to identify cutting edge social science research for investment, provides peer review for the UK-based journal Development in Practice, lends social policy and communications expertise to the Center for Rural Development and Applied Learning, and serves as a jury member for the World Summit Awards. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Belgrade, as well as an MA in International Relations from the Pardee School of Global Studies and BS in Communication, both from Boston University. She grew up in the former Yugoslavia, has lived and worked on four continents, and is fluent in three languages.
MIT News announcement of the appointment of MIT D-Lab's new Executive Director, 2021
Profiled in Original Magazin, a publication of the Novak Djokovic Foundation, 2019