Chris Bashinelli Profile

  • Chris Bashinelli is a National Geographic Explorer, a UN Moderator, and an Eagle Scout.

  • At 24 years old he became one of the youngest moderators in the history of the United Nations.

  • Expert on Human Connection & Humanity in Business.
  • Perhaps best known for his role on the worldwide hit HBO show The Sopranos, Chris Bashinelli is a motivational speaker who focuses on cross-cultural issues reflecting his passion for improving life for those from poorer cultures. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, he moved to Tanzania to explore the poverty on the other side of the global equation. He now travels the world examining the problems of impoverished areas; his TV series Bridge the Gap, which he produces and presents, promotes intercultural dialogue with its presentation of other lives as lived around the world.

    Bridge The Gap TV is Chris’s socially conscious production company that focuses on understanding what it is like to walk in another’s shoes for a day. His interviewees have ranged from Ben and Jerry to NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, and his partners include the Jane Goodall Institute and Do Something, amongst other leading non-profit organizations.

    Holder of a BA in Theatre Arts (Cum Laude) from Marymount Manhattan College, Chris is an Eagle Scout and a United Nations Guest Speaker who has spoken and emceed events in the UN General Assembly Hall in the presence of Ban Ki-Moon. As an actor his credits include An Inconvenient Truth Special on MTV and of course the aforementioned runaway worldwide success The Sopranos.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Chris Bashinelli, better known as “Bash”, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Lebanese and Italian-American parents. After a decade-long acting career including an appearance on the HBO hit television show, The SopranosBash decided to follow his real passion – using media to build bridges between cultures. He now traverses the globe from Uganda to Haiti as Host of Bridge the Gap, a television series featured on PBS and the National Geographic Channel, where he experience’s life in someone else’s shoes.

      A celebrated Diversity and Inclusion speaker, Bash has traveled the world for more than a decade sharing a message of empathy and understanding everywhere from Fortune 500 Companies, to inside prison walls, to the United Nations General Assembly Hall. His world view was shaped on his childhood “Stoop” where his friends shared a combined total of thirteen nationalities. He has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, the UN Secretary General and his mentor – Dr. Jane Goodall.

      After studying Anthropology in East Africa at 20 years old, Chris Bashinelli returned home to discover his father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The death of his father sent him on  an international quest to better understand the human condition and the universal qualities that lead to a happy, meaningful life. Bash has lived with nomads in Mongolia, worked with suicide prevention activists in Pine Ridge and Sumo wrestled the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history.  Through one of kind stories of adventure and authentic moments of human connection, Bash truly bridges the gap between self and other, helping us recognize our shared humanity.

      Bash has spoken around the world – from TEDx, to Abu Dhabi, to Azerbaijan, at multi-million dollar corporations and Ivy League Universities. At 24 years old he became one of the youngest moderators in the history of the United Nations. Bash is a National Geographic Explorer, a UN Moderator, an Eagle Scout and has interviewed some of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People on the Planet.

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    Chris Bashinelli's Speech Descriptions

    Chris Bashinelli’s presentations are universally inspirational. He discusses topics of leadership, community-building and social responsibility from a unique perspective. He engages audiences and inspires them to reach out to everyone around them and find some common ground. He also encourages audiences to find direction in their lives using concrete examples from his own.

    Chris presents a series of inspirational talks in which he approaches familiar topics from eye opening new perspectives. He has a passion for inspiring his audiences to reach out and find common ground with others. He talks of how he made his journey from a Brooklyn kid to someone who can raise $100,000 from companies such as Ben and Jerry’s and have his own TV show on PBS. Inspired by his travels around the world, Chris encourages his audience to drop their perceptions of their own limitations.

    Talking of his travels all around the world to examine different cultures, Chris explains his concept of the stoop, the place of common ground where neighbourhoods and cultures meet, and shows how “finding the stoop” can create a more cohesive workplace. Chris is passionate about the search for true meaning and global awareness, and after hearing him talk you will be too.

    For more than a decade National Geographic Explorer, Chris Bashinelli, has traveled the world walking in other people’s shoes and trying to better understand the universal human condition. Pulling from more than ten years of Meditation practice and first hand cross-cultural experiences in 40 countries – Bash brings to life for your audience the powerful tools he’s learned around Mental Health, Well-Being and the Importance of Connection. Invite “Bash” to help your attendees see themselves, each other and the world around them as they never have before.


    Potential is the space between “where we are” and “where we can be”, it is our “unrealized abilities”, personally, professionally and as an organization. Stepping into our potential means understanding that it is only because of challenge, not in spite of it, that we can become our best selves. In this one of a kind keynote, colored with international stories of adventure, resilience and triumph – Bash shares the power available to each of us when we stop seeing challenge as an obstacle to success, and instead as the very vehicle by which we can achieve it.

    From a remote Chinese village that rebuilds after a devastating fire, to a young Tanzanian filmmaker’s unimaginable dream come true, to Bash’s own personal experience of tragedy to triumph – this talk reminds us that when we change our minds, we truly can change our world. We will only realize our potential as an organization when every single team member is committed to realizing their strength individually. This keynote experience is at once a call to action for each of us personally as it is a reminder of the impact that’s possible when we tap into the collective strength of our shared humanity.


    It is only when every single team member, from the office manager to the CEO, feels safe to bring their whole, most authentic selves to work each and every day, that our organization can realize it’s full potential. As long as any single team member feels that they have to hide who they are in the workplace, we will be leaving untapped potential on the table – and our results will suffer. From his childhood “Stoop” in Brooklyn where his friends shared a combined total of over 13 nationalities, to his grandparents that immigrated to the United States from Lebanon through Ellis Island – Bash’s understanding of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is built into the very fabric of his DNA.

    Pulling from experiences in over 40 countries as a National Geographic Explorer, living with nomads in Mongolia, farming for tea on the hillsides of China, and Sumo wrestling the heaviest Japanese human being in recorded history, Bash shares in very simple steps how to create an environment where employees not only feel safe – but empowered to bring their whole selves to work – creating trust and allowing our organization to tap into the power of our shared humanity. By recognizing the strength in our diverse experiences, cultures, identities and perspectives we tap into a power that is far greater than we could ever imagine.


    We are working harder, longer and under more pressure than ever before – but without a mindful approach to our work, one that reduces stress and renews inspiration – this type of employee output is entirely unsustainable. If we are to succeed as an organization we must find a way to not only manage, but transform the stresses and pressures of our constantly changing world. From economic downturns, to global pandemics, to employee shortages, the list of stress factors is endless. Although there is so much that is outside of our control, there is one thing we can always control – our minds.

    Drawing from more than a decade of in depth meditation and mindfulness studies and interviews with some of the world’s most renowned thought leaders, Bash walks attendees through a powerful approach to mindfulness – one that we can apply in our work and our lives here and now. Bash shares the practical tools he’s used to reduce stress, increase productivity and create peace of mind – all while hosting an international television series for National Geographic, leading life-changing expeditions around the world, and maintaining a hectic international travel schedule for over fifteen years. From gratitude practice, to smart phone “retreats”, to guided meditations, Bash reminds us that creating a healthy workforce begins with each of us playing our part and taking responsibility over our own minds.


    What is your Step “Z”, the goal you feel will truly bring your life meaning? It could be a new client, a new partner, or a new home. What if you could arrive at that destination before you even begin the journey? We tend to be so fixated on our goal that we forget to examine how we are viewing ourselves. We feel that if our circumstances were different our goal would be attainable. In reality, we can only go as far as our shadow will let us – it’s not the circumstances that have to change, it’s us.
    Bash walks attendees through a scientific method for recognizing and reducing their most limiting beliefs, thereby opening the doorway to a whole new world. With total clarity, he emphasizes that the swiftest way to get from where we are, to where we want to be, is to be there first – on the inside. The best way to get from Step A to Step Z is to “Start at Step Z”. It may seem counterintuitive, but our best chance at achieving our goal is to imagine it is already accomplished. Step firmly with faith into the shoes you were meant to fill – and live, breathe, work and act from that place.

    From moderating a major United Nations event in Brazil at 23 years old with no prior experience, to leading a National Geographic Expedition in Mongolia when nearly all funding had been pulled one month before production, Bash shows how when we change our mind, we can change our world. The key to creating success lies not in getting what we want, but in realizing that we already have everything we need to live a happy and meaningful life. When we connect our ultimate goal to a mission that benefits others, and have unwavering faith in our potential, we will find the inspiration necessary to reach our “Step Z”.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Chris Speak

    Rating Entries


  • UN Launch of International Year of Youth- UN General Assembly Hall, NYC
  • United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Bridging Cultures Forum- Brazil
  • United Nations World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue- Baku, Azerbaijan
  • Empower Youth 2011 Conference, Reach out to Asia- Doha, Qatar
  • Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoos National Leadership Retreat- New Orleans, LA
  • Girls Who Rock Benefit Concert w/ Shontelle- NYC
  • Global Issues Conference, American Community School of Abu Dhabi- UAE

    “Chris Bashinelli is an inspiration to youth worldwide. He speaks with passion and his message is one of hope, cultural tolerance and call to action. He knows how to reach young and old alike. Bridge the Gap shares exciting and inspirational stories of daily life from the developing world and encourages us to realize that at the end of the day, we really are all the same and every single one of us makes a difference. We need more people like Chris in the world.”
    JANE GOODALL PhD, DBE – Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, United Nations Messenger of Peace

    “Dear Chris, It was a pleasure to meet you at the United Nations International Day of Peace. Your handling of the student panel discussion and your own speech were excellent. Your motivational skills and energy along with the positive message you send will truly inspire people to help make this a better planet. Congratulations and best wishes for a very promising future.”
    MR. MICHAEL DOUGLAS – Academy Award-winning Actor, United Nations Messenger of Peace

    “G’day mate! Great to meet you! I love your message and it fits perfectly in the corporate market. Who knew that traveling the world and living with nomads relates to work in an office setting!? I introduce a lot of speakers to events around the world and I rate your session very highly- Entertaining, engaging, compelling… All the good stuff!”
    LARRY EMDUR – Australian Television Personality

    “Chris is a gifted speaker that has the uncanny ability to fill any venue with positive energy and excitement. He has a rare knack of being able to help bring out the best in every member of the audience. I’m very impressed with his ability to communicate complex messages in an easy to understand and entertaining way. His message as relevant in the cubicle as it is in the space station. I would highly recommend Chris for any speaking venue.”
    RON GARAN Col, USAF (Ret) – NASA Astronaut

    “Bashinelli’s journeys are genuine and without pretense. Bridge the Gap offers a message that we should embrace and act on right now – chances are we’d all be better for it.”
    CHRISTOPHER COLLINS – Executive Producer of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”

    “I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Chris speak on numerous occasions and each time I’m blown away. He is a perfect blend of passionate and compelling, while remaining down to earth and relatable. He knows how to cater his message to different crowds and he never fails to add humor. He is a true artisan with words and a natural leader. I’m excited to see the impact that ‘Bridge the Gap’ will have for this generation and all the ways that Chris Bashinelli will inspire us all to look within, go beyond our comfort zones, and be a voice to those who were otherwise silenced.”
    MONIQUE COLEMAN – United Nations Youth Champion, Actress from High School Musical 2

    “Chris is one of the most inspiring new voices on television. His curiosity and enthusiasm for new experiences is infectious – he’s part Anthony Bourdain, part Anderson Cooper, and 100% fresh. Whether Chris is crying with an Indian prayer circle, or screaming with his arm most of the way inside a cows backside, you just can’t stop watching.”
    JERRY KOLBER – Executive Producer of “Brain Games” on National Geographic Channel

    “Chris Bashinelli fearlessly takes on cultural diversity and uncovers the humanity that is in us all.”
    TRAVIS SHAKESPEARE – BBC Worldwide, Senior Vice President

    “Chris’s charm and etiquette will go a long way. He is able to capture audiences when he speaks and one gets a sense that it is truly from the heart. His appeal is not limited to any particular age group or class. People are very comfortable around him and seem to respond to him endearingly, no matter what walk of life. Chris is helping to change the world. We should all be contributing whatever resources we can, so that Chris may continue ‘Building Bridges’…”
    SHONTELLE LAYNE – Motown Singer & Songwriter

    “Bash, You are too much! I knew you’d done a lot of cool things but your speaking is ridiculously good. Your speaking style is so well done, so polished, so powerful. I would push more and more that you are an INSPIRATIONAL speaker more than anything, because you’re an inspirational PERSON. It’s almost as if you are too big, too much like an icon in the making, like Anthony Bourdain charisma meets Nelson Mandela peacefulness and Colin Powell diplomacy, after meeting you that’s what I felt I was in the presence of, someone significant, an international juggernaut and difference maker. Excited to see your influence continue to rise.”
    JASON HEWLETT – Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker<b>

    “Chris opens peoples eyes up to the different worlds in which we live and makes people think about things we in the developed world take for granted. Exchanges like those we see in ‘Bridge the Gap’, which at first seem to be from worlds apart, in fact serve to make use realize how interconnected we all are”
    DR. LOUISE LEAKEY – Paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer in Residence

    “Chris was outstanding and willing to go the extra mile to meet students. Every young person should hear his message.”
    North Central Michigan College
    (Event booked by

    “Bridge the Gap is a great idea and it’s need has never been greater.”
    UN Ambassador Ombeni Sefue (Tanzania)

    “Chris’s project is exciting and helpful to the people of our world.”
    Princess and Ambassador Mbikusita-Lewanika (Zambia)

    “Chris is beyond inspirational. Before, I thought ‘I’m just one person, what can I do?’ But now I feel I can really make a difference.”
    Mackenzie Stack (15 years old), Student at Qatar Canadian School

    “Chris is a trailblazer in that he is able to entertain and educate simultaneously.”
    Damian Wampler, Photographer, Founder of Colony Magazine

    “Chris has a one of a kind entrepreneurial spirit coupled with an overwhelming desire to be a positive influence for his generation.”
    Alfred Hanssen, former COO for Miracle Corners of the World

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