Former captive in Syria to speak at Minot Women Connect

Sam Goodwin will speak about his experiences as a captive in Syria and his release in delivering the keynote address during the Minot Women Connect Luncheon on Aug. 31.

Tickets for the event are open to the public (women and men) and are available for purchase on the Minot Chamber EDC website. Goodwin’s keynote address at the Grand Hotel will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and lunch will be served.

Goodwin is an American entrepreneur who was detained for more than nine weeks on false charges of espionage in Syria. During his captivity, he was subjected to solitary confinement, a sham trial and blindfolded interrogations. He was the first American to be released by the Syrian regime without federal intervention, according to information provided by Women Connect.

Goodwin earned a four-year athletic scholarship to Niagara University in New York in 2008. Since then, he has played and coached hockey in destinations such as India, Turkmenistan and North Korea. He attributes the mental toughness, critical thinking and resiliency garnered through a life of competitive athletics as crucial to his survival as a hostage.

After the Division I athlete graduated, he began his journey to visit every country in the world. Goodwin moved to Singapore in 2012 to help launch a tech startup business and regional NGO. His focus included stakeholder management, media relations and non-profit partnerships. He has led humanitarian efforts across Asia, Africam and Latin America. Goodwin currently works in congressional advocacy for the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation in Washington, D.C.

From 2010-2019, Goodwin traveled to all 193 United Nations’ sovereign countries and wrote about it on his blog. He particularly enjoys promoting the beauty and positivity of lesser-known and negatively perceived places. Sam has visited all 50 U.S. states and is a member of several extreme travel groups.

Goodwin holds bachelor’s degrees in communication studies and French from Niagara University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently a Doctor of International Affairs candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.


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