Fulbright Arctic Initiative Feat. Gwen Holdmann

February 5, 2016

My name is Gwen Holdmann and I'm part of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative.

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative is this really wonderful opportunity to really exchange knowledge and information between researchers that are working throughout the arctic regions and working on kinds of key issues that are facing the Arctic today. I'm an engineer so I think of very practical solutions around the built environment and around energy systems. So being able to work with people in the health field and interact with them in this way is something that I'll take far beyond the end of this particular Fulbright program and working as part of this group.

So Iceland is very interesting in that they've been a real global leader in terms of integrating renewable resources with traditional power systems. They've developed their geothermal resources and their hydropower resources for domestic power. And now what they've been doing is that they've really been developing a knowledge export industry. Where they've been exporting expertise they've developed from building out their own systems to other places in the developing world.

When you think about it the Arctic is where the first sunglasses came from,and where we, you know, first saw snow shoes and kayaks. You know, it's a place of innovation. It's a reservoir for that. The Arctic is a place where we can have technological leadership. And actually being inventing things like the energy system of the future. Some day you might actually be using energy systems that are being pioneered in the Arctic today.

I hope that people realize that there are some really deep connections between what happens in the Arctic and what's happening in their own backyard.And not just think about it as sort of an esoteric, far away, remote place where there's a few polar bears stranded on an iceberg or something like that. So, there's much more to the Arctic than that.