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What It Means to Be “Global” in Seattle

Photo by @GregJeffersonPhotography via Twenty20.

After the Global Washington conference last month, the two of us have been going back and forth about something that came up during the opening keynote discussion.

The discussion, moderated by Akhtar, included UW President Ana Mari Cauce; John Kelly, Starbucks Senior Vice President of Global Public Affairs and Social Impact; and Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision U.S.

Several of the speakers argued that we need to immediately address several pressing problems in Seattle, including homelessness. Some in the audience and media took that to imply an “America First” attitude. What they seem to have missed, as we later learned in conversations with other attendees, was the point several speakers made that we must tackle these issues BOTH globally AND locally. This is not an “either or” scenario. Read More

Global Leadership Demands We Break the Silence

Renewing Global Leadership is the theme of Global Washington’s upcoming conference. We are very excited to have extremely accomplished global leaders as our speakers for the conference, ranging from corporate, non-profit, academic, foundations and development agencies. As we talked about at last year’s conference, we are going through some interesting times politically, and we have seen major shifts in attitudes around America’s role as a world leader. Read More

First Person: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis and Spreeha

The following email was written to Global Washington’s president & board chair, Akhtar Badshah, by Tazin Shadid, CEO of Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation, on November 6, 2017. Spreeha and Extend the Day, both GlobalWA members, have been working in makeshift camps that were set up for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The correspondence is reprinted here with permission in the hope that it will inspire greater awareness, support, and collaboration towards alleviating suffering in this crisis. If you would like to get involved, please contact

Dear Akhtar,

Hope you are doing well. I wanted to share with you my experience at the Rohingya refugees. Last weekend Spreeha organized a health camp at the refugee camps in Bangladesh. We were accompanied by one of our partner organizations from Seattle, Extend the Day, and they distributed solar lights to families. I’ve been reading about the Rohingya refugee crisis from the very beginning and following some sources that are sharing pictures and videos on a regular basis. Yet, going over there in person was a whole different experience. I do not have the right words to describe how bad the situation is. I’ve been working in slums with extreme poverty for over ten years now and I have never seen anything like this. Almost a million refugees has now arrived at the camps and the magnitude of the problem cannot be imagined without being there physically.

Walking through camp Rohingya

We went to one of the remote camps, Putibonia in Ungciprong, which is past the two big camps Kutupalong and Balukhali, which are more established. One of our partners had received government and military approval to work over there and they are the ones who helped us organize the health camp and the solar lights distribution. As our van was travelling through the roads, we Read More