BY SPNW Staff 10:00AM 10/17/2012

Bob Walsh leads series on global issues, sports

Seattle entrepreneur Bob Walsh, who directed efforts that led to successful Seattle bids for three NCAA Final Fours (1984, 1989, 1995) and the 1990 Goodwill Games, will launch a five-part series, “Conversations With Bob Walsh and Friends” Oct. 25 at Seattle Central Community College. The series includes dinner, speakers and question-and-answer sessions with Walsh and an array local and global experts in a variety of fields.

Topics to be addressed during the series include democracy in the Middle East, Africa, China and the Caucasus region (Georgia, Aremenia, Azjerbijan); Seattle’s status as a sports town, and how to ease international tensions.

Walsh, whose motto is, “Ordinary people can do extraordinary things,” has long believed that sports and citizen diplomacy can improve local and international relations. Now a motivational speaker, Walsh will moderate the series, which will be held in the One World Dining Room in the campus’s main Broadway building.

Global experts from Egypt, China and the Republic of Georgia will participate, as will David Marriott, whose public relations efforts aided University of Washington student Amanda Knox when she was jailed in Italy. Kristen Hayden, founder and executive director of the non-profit One World Now, is also a scheduled panelist.

Other local panelists include Lenny Wilkens and Wally Walker of the former Seattle SuperSonics and sports media figures Steve Raible of KIRO-TV and Steve Rudman of Sportspress Northwest. Walsh is a member of the board of directors of SPNW.

The first installment is “Seattle SuperSonics: What REALLY happened, and making sure it doesn’t happen again.” Walsh, a former assistant general manager of the Sonics (mid-1970s) will be joined by Walker, a former president and player, and Rudman, as they discuss the Sonics’ move to Oklahoma City and the complexity of building a new basketball facility, a requirement to replace the Sonics with another franchise.

Other installments in the series include:

Thursday, Nov. 15: The Battles for Democracy in North Africa, the Middle East and Caucasus, and the Impacts on the West. Panelists include Tedo Japaridze, former Georgian ambassador to the U.S. and national security advisor to former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze; Mohammed Gohar, chairman and founder of Video Cairo Satellite, the largest telecasting company in Egypt; and Jawed Zouari, Ph.D, professor of political science at Seattle Central.

Thursday, Feb. 21: Beyond Just Sports — The Amazing Impact On Global Relations. How sports play a critical role in building positive relations between countries, as demonstrated in individual and team competitions. Panelists include NBA Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens and Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics.

Thursday, March 21: Has Seattle Lost Its Relevance As A Sports Town? From 1984-95, Seattle hosted three NCAA Final Fours, an NBA All-Star Game, the Goodwill Games and many other national and international events that brought widespread attention and monetary benefits to the city. The panelists will discuss how Seattle lost its allure as a compelling venue and whether Seattle can become relevant again. Panelists include Steve Raible of KIRO-TV, also a former Seahawks player.

Thursday, April 18: The One World Now Approach — Avoiding International Disasters Through Citizen Diplomacy. New approaches must be taken to reduce international tensions and enhance global harmony. Bob and his panelists will offer strategies that may work to achieve those goals. Panelists include Kristin Hayden, founder and executive director of One World Now; Philmone Haile, former intern at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, and the office of Congressman Jim McDermott; and Marriott, nationally accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.

Each edition of “Conversations With Bob Walsh and Friends” is from 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cost per event is $35 and registration is required. Seattle Central Community College is at 1701 Broadway, Seattle, 98122. For registration information, call 206-934-5448.


  • jafabian

    Wouldn’t happen but I wish the city could just hire Walsh. There’s so many national and even international sporting events the city could be hosting and they haven’t happened since Walsh stepped away from promoting them for Seattle.
    Interesting to see that Wally is a part of this. He could get eaten alive by some die hard Sonic fans. He must really want to make up for the Sonics leaving though that really wasn’t his fault. If anything, Wally should pick up where Walsh left off.