Town Hall


Seattle still wants to save the world | 

As regular readers know, the title of last week’s “Can Seattle Save the World? (Poverty, Health and Chocolate)” was tongue-firmly-in-cheek, but also meant to raise some important questions. There’s a serious debate about the meaning and priority of “health” in “global health.”

"Can Seattle Save the World?" panel at Town Hall Seattle

Justin Steyer/KPLU

"Can Seattle Save the World?" panel at Town Hall Seattle, featuring Tom Paulson, Bill Foege, Chris Elias, Wendy Johnson, and Joe Whinney

The event itself proved so popular that we moved it to a room three times larger than originally planned — and nearly packed the room. Not to toot our horn too much, but immediate feedback was enthusiastic. “Do it again,” was the most common response.

We’d love to.

In the meantime, we are belatedly offering a replay. Seattle’s municipal cable TV station recorded the event, and edited it for local broadcast on May 5th at 2pm. It’s now also viewable at the Seattle Channel website and embedded below.

We have a few photos of our panelists (alas, none yet of the magnificent domed room or of the audience — if you have your own photos, please share) at our Flickr site.

There’s a lot of interest in continuing the discussion. Some provocative audience questions included: How can the development community start talking about projects that are not working — without jeopardizing funding for the good projects? What sort of careers are there, or should there be, for the hundreds of college students now majoring in Global Health?

A comment and question stream has started at this earlier post (as well as on Twitter at #SEAsaves).

New and Improved and More Inclusive: Can Seattle Save the World? | 

Due to popular demand, we’ve moved upstairs to a bigger room at Seattle’s Town Hall for our event next Tuesday evening, 7 p.m., Can Seattle Save the World? Poverty, Health and Chocolate.

Tickets are on sale again. And here’s my invitation to you, and repeat description of the event:

So … Can Seattle Save the World?

No, of course not. Don’t be silly.

But Seattle folks, and many like-minded others throughout the Northwest, are actually crazy enough to believe they can do something to make the world a better place.

We should probably talk about this.

And we will, on the evening of April 26, at Seattle Town Hall, with you and a panel of our leading local experts who are working to reduce disease and poverty around the world.

We’ll explore what I am calling, for the sake of debate (and I do like a good debate), the “Seattle approach” to saving the world. Bill Foege, the man who figured out how to rid the world of smallpox, Chris Elias, president at PATH, UW health activist Wendy Johnson and Theo Chocolate founder Joe Whinney.

Chocolate? Yeah, chocolate and disease and poverty. You’ll see.

Obviously, a big reason for our community’s constant chatter of can-do, humanitarian global optimism is because the 8,000-lb. gorilla in the do-gooder universe happens to be located here — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The folks at the Gates Foundation — which is perhaps now the most influential player in global health and certainly one of the leaders in many anti-poverty efforts — like to say they are impatiently optimistic. We’ll take a look at both the reasons for the impatience and the optimism.

Other questions we will explore:

  • What’s special about Seattle’s approach to fighting poverty?
  • Does charity, or any kind of humanitarian effort, really work?
  • Why does poverty exist and can we get rid of it?
  • How can fighting disease help in the fight against poverty?
  • Is this the next big thing for young people — a dot.compassion revolution rather than just another

And any question you bring to the forum. Feel free to submit a question on Twitter at #SEAsaves in advance, during or after the event. (We’re planning to post live updates from the event, here on Humanosphere.)

Come join us for a celebration and examination of what may be a revolution in process, a revolution in how we look at poverty, inequity and, well, the rest of the world. The Humanosphere.

For more info on the event and to purchase tickets, go to Brown Paper Tickets.

Join the conversation: Can Seattle Save the World? | 

The forum doesn’t begin until 7 p.m. PST at Town Hall Seattle, but you can join in the conversation right now using the Twitter hashtag #SEAsaves.

Not able to attend the event? KPLU’s Charla Bear will also be live blogging right here, at, starting at 7 p.m.