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Sam Goodwin

Captive in Syria: The Power of Perspective

August 31, 2022 |11:30 - 1:00 pm
The Grand Hotel

Sam Goodwin is an American entrepreneur, public speaker, and advocate for the freedom of political hostages globally. He played Division 1 college ice hockey, co-founded a game development company in Singapore, and has traveled to every country in the world. Sam was unjustly imprisoned in Syria in 2019. His release marked the first time an American civilian had been freed by the Syrian regime. Today, Goodwin shares his experiences through speaking engagements, worldwide, including to audiences of elite athletes, faith groups, corporate conventions, the US Military, and others. 

Sam earned a four-year athletic scholarship to Niagara University (New York) in 2008. Since then he has played and coached hockey in destinations like 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. 

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, Africa, and Latin America. Sam currently works in Congressional Advocacy for the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation in Washington DC.

From 2010 to 2019, Sam 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 US States and is a member of several extreme travel groups.

In May of 2019, Goodwin was wrongfully detained on false charges of espionage in Syria. He endured more than nine weeks of imprisonment, including solitary confinement, a sham trial, blindfolded interrogations, and a dramatic release. Goodwin's presentations today detail embracing uncertainty and the efforts it took to manage and survive captivity. 

Same holds dual 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. He is a practicing Catholic and the oldest of five children. 
 

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