|Mr. Patrick Dowd graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with degrees in interdisciplinary studies and English and comparative literature. Following graduation, he received a Princeton in Asia (PiA) fellowship to teach English literature and language at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Concurrently, he served as a tutor for several Burmese monks who had taken part in Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution and were forced to live in exile in Thailand. Upon completion of his PiA fellowship, he began working for the INGO, EarthRights International, also in Chiang Mai. With EarthRights, he worked as an instructor and research coordinator for two EarthRights training programs: the Burma School and Mekong School. Both programs train grassroots human rights and environmental activists from Burma and the Mekong region to give them further training in the fields of human rights, environmental protection, research methodology, fact finding and report writing. Through his work at EarthRights, he traveled extensively throughout the Mekong region, studying human rights and environmental abuses and the community resistance organized against them. He is interested in the intersection of indigenous knowledge, human rights and socially-engaged Buddhism.
Mr. Dowd’s Fulbright project, “Dharma and Justice: Socially-Engaged Tibetan Buddhism in Exile,” seeks to understand the transformation of Tibetan culture in exile through the framework of socially-engaged Tibetan Buddhism. By researching a number of local Tibetan NGOs and CBOs based in the exile capital of Dharamsala and then subsequently attending classes at the Central University of Tibetan Studies based in Sarnath, he hopes to understand how the experience of exile has transformed Tibetan Buddhism to have a greater emphasis on social engagement. Specifically, his research will explore how Buddhism informs work aimed at promoting social justice in the fields of education, women’s empowerment and human rights.