Recent Georgetown University graduate Patrick Dowd calls his visit to Helsinki “a glimpse of things to come.” Says the political and security studies major, “It was really extraordinary taking part in the MYHelsinki expedition, and rare that somebody my age would get such an opportunity.”
Now a columnist for Bisnow, an online magazine for local business communities, Dowd writes all the site’s legal content, publishing four or five times a week. He credits his trip to Finland and journaling for the MYHelsinki website as his first experience with online media and blogging, one that directly influenced --and helped him land-- his first job right out of school.
Continuing his passion for global affairs, and India in particular, Dowd has applied for a Fulbright grant to study electronic waste in India. Televisions, computer monitors, cell phones, this is the fastest growing stream of waste in the world; it’s sort of the flip side of technological innovation. The more you innovate and create new technology, the faster the pace that existing technologies become obsolete and just get thrown away. Most people don’t know where those go. It turns out that a lot of the world’s e-waste goes to poor countries and increasingly to India. I want to create an online virtual tour of this e-waste stream so that people can see what happens in the end life of computer technology.”
Dowd plans to develop a nonprofit, community-based cooperative with a scalable entrepreneurial solution, and notes influences from Finland. “Nokia has the most advanced e-waste take-back system in India, and is a leader in the reverse supply-chain management processes that are the focus of my Fulbright research. At Nokia outlets in India, they accept any cell phone and make sure that it’s either recycled or disposed of in an environmentally responsible way. That’s potentially lucrative business, but definitely an environmentally conscious one.” If awarded a Fulbright, Dowd plans to explore the possibility of engaging Nokia or other Finnish technology companies as potential stakeholders for his community-based cooperatives. “Whether I’m awarded a Fulbright or not, I would very much like to explore the possibility of working for Nokia in India, and becoming involved in their strategic approach to e-waste management.”