Dr. Pawan Patil


Seadragon Foundation

Dr. Pawan Patil is a Harvard, Oxford and London School of Economics trained economist, development banker, inventor, serial eco-ethical social entrepreneur, eco-financial engineer, and active philanthropist, dedicated to improving millions of young lives for good. He’s passionate in the quest to improve ocean health for people, wildlife, and planet, and to stimulate and create ocean climate action.

A twenty-five-year veteran of the World Bank Group, Dr. Patil built the Bank’s multi-billion-dollar sustainable ocean investment portfolio from scratch by placing people at its center. He brought pioneering analytic, policy and investment rigor to the then nascent blue economy paradigm – before the world’s embrace of the concept – including leading and authoring flagship reports for Rio+20 (2014), The World Bank – IMF Annual Meetings of Finance Ministers (2015 and 2016), UN General Assembly meeting on Oceans (2016), Small States Forums, and a first of its kind article in Nature. He launched the development banking communities’ engagement into this frontier space in structuring the very first investments in assisting ocean-facing nations and businesses transition toward a sustainable ocean economy and advising blue bond issuances.

Dr. Patil is a life-long youth advocate. He co-founded and co-chaired youth2youth with World Bank president, the late James D. Wolfensohn, the largest and longest serving volunteer network across the World Bank Group with five global programs. He is a founding curator of World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, and himself was nominated by his mentor, HE Martti Ahtisaari and named a WEF Young Global Leader. He founded the Global Youth Climate Network and led the fight for inclusion of young people into the halls of power at the Copenhagen COP and beyond – enabling a platform for youth voice and choice for action.

He was named a “Girl Hero” for cocreating Nike Foundation and its Girl Effect campaign, both launched in Davos, and an “SDG Hero” for advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. His passion for creative pursuits in digital arts, storytelling and action-oriented communications led to a Webby, Golden Quill, and MacArthur. He was awarded the World Bank Group’s corporate leadership award in 2017 and named “Mentor of the Year” for his empathetic leadership.

Dr. Patil has been called The Wizard of Ocean, leading with science, innovation, finance, empathy, poetry, heart-centeredness, and music, and almost always, from behind. At the 7th Our Ocean Conference in Palau, he steps out from behind the curtain for his live performance art talk, titled “In Nurturing Nature, Nature Nurtures Us”.