Marija Risteska holds PhD in political science. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Research and Policy Making, number one think tank in Macedonia (Think Thank Index University of Pennsylvania since 2012 is ranking CRPM on the list of 100 most influential in CEE and SEE), which has received a Japanese Medal for Outstanding Research in development in 2016 and PASOS Think tank award in 2010 and 2013.

Marija’s research work is in the area of public administration reform, public management, good governance, policy transfer and European integration. She thought political science courses at FON University and New York College Skopje, currently she holds the title of Assistant Professor at South-East European University (SEEU) in Tetovo.

In CRPM Risteska has led the team to contribute to four specific public sector reforms in Macedonia. Marija is author of the public policy development system of the Macedonian Government that has been developed with Norwegian support; and ex-post policy evaluation system supported by OSCE. Since 2004 Risteska works on budgeting and she has contributed to opening the budget planning to citizens with amendments to the Law on Budget in 2005 supported by USAID and Friedrich Ebert Schtiftung that introduced transparency and participatory budgeting functionalities in the PFM system. Since 2006 Risteska works with UN Women on gender responsive budgeting reform, as researcher, analyst, trainer, and mentor to government and municipal officials. Marija is now Regional Director of the Gender Budget Watchdog Network of 88 CSOs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Moldova and Serbia. Marija Risteska has initiated in 2011 for Macedonia to become part of the Open Government Partnership and since 2012 facilitated the inclusion of civil society in the OGP co-creation process in Macedonia leading to Open Government Action Plans in 2014 and 2016. Marija instigated regional open government platform in six Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, supported by the EU. Since 2018 Risteska has focused on prevention from violent extremism working with Hedyah Center for Excellence in Countering Terrorism and the EU leading to development of the policy model Passage for Prevent: Mechanism for Referral of Persons Vulnerable to Radicalization and Reintegration of Foreign Fighters and their Families in the Community.

Dr. Risteska has written two textbooks: “Public policy, policy making and public value (2017); and Gender Responsive Budgeting (2013). She authored: “Sexual extortion as an act of corruption: legal and institutional response”(2022), “Gender and diversity impact of Covid 19” (2021); edited the book “Mapping the leaders in Macedonia and Albania: can elites promote positive social change?”(2010) and co-edited the books “The Macedonian Question: 20 Years of Political Struggle into European Integration Structures”(2012); “Ten years after the Ohrid Framework Agreement: Lessons (to be) learned” (2011) and “European Law for Small and Medium Enterprises” (2004). Marija Risteska is co-chair of the working group for chapter 19 of the National convention for the EU integration and Policy coordinator for the EBRD Western Balkan Women in Business Program.

Risteska has participated and spoke on numerous high-level events such as the Raisina Dalogue:

Marija loves to travel and regularly takes her family for adventures around the world.