ISLAMABAD: The United Nations development program has appointed the first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest as its goodwill ambassador for the country.
A statement issued Monday says Samina Baig will lead efforts to build national awareness and partnerships around the U.N.’s development goals, particularly those related to climate change, environmental protection, youth and women’s empowerment.
Born in Gilgit-Baltistan, at the age of 22 Baig became the first Pakistani woman to climb storied mountain. By the time she turned 23, she had climbed the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. She heads the Pakistan Youth Outreach Foundation to encourage youth in outdoor activities. Neil Buhne, the U.N.’s resident coordinator in Pakistan, said Baig will use her position to shine a light on issues that shape Pakistan’s future. It may be recalled that on 27th July 2014, she had the greatest honour to hoist our green flag on the seven summits,” said Mirza Ali who accompanied Samina Baig on the seven summits adventure, updating his Facebook page.
At 9am, Samina Baig stood at the top of Mt Elbrus, the highest peak in Russia, with her brother, holding the Pakistani flag high for a picture. With this summit, the 23 years old climber completed the challenge of climbing seven of the highest mountains around the world, including Mount Everest which she conquered in May, 2013.
Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) confirmed the news on Saturday. “We are planning a reception for Samina Baig when she returns this week,” said ACP Executive Council Member Karrar Haidri. The two flew out to Russia, after Alaska, where they pushed to capture the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Elbrus, which is 5,642 metres tall, bringing their ‘Seven Summits’ adventure to an end.
Samina Baig was part of an adventure diplomacy mission, funded by a few passionate climbers outside Pakistan, a few embassies in Islamabad and managed by the Serena Hotels, with no support from the government of Pakistan. “The adventure diplomacy, gender equality and women empowerment project came to its amazing end with great success,” Mirza Ali said on his Facebook page. He also updated the news on his twitter account for the followers of the two climbers.
Hailing from Shimshal Valley in Hunza, both climbers had summated Mt McKinley, Alaska, reaching 6,168 metres into the sky on July 3. Samina Baig became the first Pakistani woman to climb to the top of the highest mountain in North America.
“Samina Baig set the record of capturing the summits in record age of 23 years and record time,” said Mirza Ali on his Facebook page. In March, Samina Baig and Mirza Ali reached the top of the 4,884 metres-high Mount Carstensz Pyramid, the highest peak in Indonesia. In the last six months, the duo Samina Baig and Mirza Ali had made history in December when they climbed Mt Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak in South America.
In January, they conquered the highest peak in Antarctica, Mt Vinson, and then the 5,895 metres-high Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in February. Last year, Mirza Ali was unable to reach the top of Mount Everest. His plan had changed after an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas and climbers on Mount Everest, which was considered one of the deadliest accidents in climbing history. Summating Mount Everest is still on his to do list, said Mirza Ali. If he also climbs Everest, the brother and sister will be the first siblings in the world to conquer the seven summits.