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John Virdin

Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation
Marine Science and Conservation
Box 90328, Durham, NC 27708


John Virdin is director of the Coastal and Ocean Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Virdin’s areas of expertise include assisting developing country governments to reform and strengthen their institutions responsible for ocean fisheries, thereby reducing poverty and enhancing sustainability, and creating policy and institutional frameworks governing a wide range of human activities that drive change in ocean ecosystems, including activities leading to the conversion or degradation of natural coastal habitats.

Virdin worked for more than 10 years at the World Bank, most recently as acting program manager for the Global Partnership for Oceans, a coalition of more than 150 governments, companies, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and multi-lateral agencies. He advised the Bank on oceans and fisheries governance and helped it increase its lending for sustainable oceans to more than $1 billion. His work led to development of programs that provided more than $125 million in funding for improved fisheries management in six West African nations and some $40 million for fisheries and ocean conservation in a number of Pacific Island nations.

Prior to his tenure at the World Bank, Virdin worked with the World Resources Institute, the Munson Foundation, the World Conservation Network, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Virdin holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University.  He will receive his doctorate in marine policy from the University of Delaware in 2015.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation · 2022 - Present Marine Science and Conservation, Nicholas School of the Environment
Area Director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions · 2019 - Present Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, University Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Delaware · 2016 Ph.D.