American University of Sharjah

First Arab woman to summit Mount Everest shares her inspiring story with AUS alumni

Suzanne Al-Houby

First Arab woman to summit Mount Everest shares her inspiring story with AUS alumni

November 2, 2011

American University of Sharjah (AUS) organized an inspirational evening with Suzanne Al-Houby, the first Arab woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The event was held last night, November 1, at the Park Hyatt in Dubai.

Al-Houby, a Palestinian-born, UAE-based mother of two, summited Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain, on May 21, 2011. "It is a great privilege to be known as the first Arab woman to reach the top of the world. I will never forget the moment when my dream became a reality," said Al-Houby. "I encourage you all to reach for the stars because if you dream big, you will reach your maximum potential," she added.

AUS chancellor Dr. Peter Heath thanked Al-Houby for sharing the motivational story behind her ambition to climb both the corporate ladder and world peaks. Chancellor Heath addressed the audience stating that, "AUS takes pride in hosting inspirational personalities like Ms. Al-Houby, and events such as these motivate our students and graduates to do better and push themselves further. By organizing such events for our students and alumni, we affirm our continuous commitment to our students while at AUS and long after they have graduated. It is the aim of AUS to bring our students and alumni in contact with inspirational personalities such as Suzzane; real people they can learn from and aspire to be said Dr. Heath.

Mr. Riad Kamal, CEO of Arabtec and Deputy Chairman of the Welfare Association, whom Chancellor Heath thanked for availing this opportunity to the AUS community, also addressed the audience, "It took 22 years after Sir Edmund Hillary (1953) for the first woman to summit Mount Everest in 1975 and it has taken 36 years thereafter for the first Arab woman to reach that mantel. It was not Everest that Suzzanne A-Houby conquered but the fear within."

A lifelong mountaineer, Al-Houby is no stranger to the record books. In 2003, she became the first Arab woman to reach the Everest Base Camp. She is also the first Arab woman to scale Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe, and the first Palestinian woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. To date, she has successfully reached the summit of the highest mountains on five of the world's seven continents.

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