UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has partnered with record-setting Qatari athlete and champion of women empowerment in the Arab World and beyond, Sheikha Asma al-Thani, to raise awareness on the plight of refugees and advocate for the rights of those forced to flee due to conflict and persecution.
Sheikha Asma recently climbed Antarctica’s highest peak, Mount Vinson, and completed the South Pole Ski the Last Degree Trip, a 111km advanced skiing and winter expedition in Antarctica. She is the first Qatari woman to achieve this feat.
“As a new year begins, we must not forget about the more than 84mn people who are forced to flee their homes in search of peace and hope. When I was in the freezing cold in Antarctica, I couldn’t help but think of the dangerous journeys some refugees have to take to bring their children to safety. I will continue to use my voice to make sure they are heard,” said Sheikha Asma in a statement on the UNHCR website.
UNHCR representative in Qatar, Ayat El-Dewary, said: “With her passion, courage, commitment and strong sense of solidarity, Sheikha Asma al-Thani is an inspiration to so many, especially women. Her expeditions will not only continue to empower people to reach their own potential, but will also be a platform for raising awareness on and advocating for the rights of vulnerable refugees around the world.”
“We are proud to have her as an advocate and a strong voice for the forcibly displaced,” El-Dewary added.
Sheikha Asma is on a two-year expedition to become the first woman from the Middle East to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam, which involves climbing the seven Summits and reaching the North and South Poles.