Wilford Welch
Former U.S. Diplomat, Author, Futurist

Wilford Welch has been exploring the driving forces impacting our world for more than five decades as a U.S. diplomat in Asia; as an economic development and business consultant in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S.; as the publisher of a world affairs magazine that appeared in 26 countries in six language editions; and as the leader of educational trips to numerous countries and cultures. 

Wilford developed future planning scenarios for a number of multinational corporations and governments, including Citibank, Toyota, the U.S. Navy, and the Korean Government. He was the leader of a research team that developed the Wealth of Nations Index using 63 variables to measure each nation’s economic, information technology, and social well-being. He is the author of In Our Hands: A Handbook for Intergenerational Actions to Solve the Climate Crisis, published in 2018, and The Tactics of Hope: How Social Entrepreneurs Are Changing Our World, published in 2008.

Wilford has been deeply involved in outdoor and environmental education, including being chair of the board of the NatureBridge Golden Gate campus and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). In 1994 Wilford led the support team of NOLS instructors on Mount Everest, which removed 5,000 pounds of trash off the high camps and introduced the notion of “Leave No Trace” to Everest mountaineering.

Over the past decades, Wilford has created and led several large conferences exploring the issues addressed in In Our Hands, including two Quest for Global Healing gatherings in Bali, Indonesia, in 2004 and 2007 for over 1,000 participants from forty countries, and the Beyond Sustainability conference that took place at the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in 2010.

Wilford has a BA from Yale University, a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PMD degree from the Harvard Business School. He lives in Sausalito, California.

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(Clockwise from top left) Meeting with the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamshala, India; on a panel with Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Betty Williams, of Northern Ireland, and Desmond Tutu, of South Africa; with Hamar tribespeople in Southern Ethiopia; at the base camp on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest with the group that removed 5,000 pounds of trash off the high camps; in a tent on day 27 of a climb up Mount Denali in Alaska; and Mount Everest.

Wilford’s Prior Speaking Engagements

 Wilford on a Climate One panel, Commonwealth Club of California.

Wilford on a Climate One panel, Commonwealth Club of California.

  • Climate One at the Commonwealth Club of California
  • World Affairs Council of Northern California
  • Harvard Business School
  • University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
  • Yale School of Management
  • Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
  • School of International and Pubic Affairs at Columbia University
  • Middlebury College
  • University of California, Davis, Graduate School of Management
  • Boston University School of Medicine
  • University of Portland, Oregon
  • Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts
  • Book Passage bookstore, Sausalito, California
  • Institute of Noetic Sciences
  • City Lights bookstore, San Francisco, California
  • Quest for Global Healing conferences, Ubud, Bali.
  • The Yale Bookstore
  • Hollyhock Retreat Center
  • Meridian International Center, Washington, DC
  • International Tour Management Institute