You could feel the excitement in Madinat Zayed Higher Colleges of Technology today, December 27, as the Student Council welcomed Elham Al-Qasimi, the first Arab woman to travel unassisted to the North Pole, and the first UAE national to ski there.
She is the deserving winner of the Visionary Award in the Emirates Woman of the Year Awards.
The student council president, Haya Al Otaibi, who organized the visit, was thrilled when she agreed to talk to the students about her expedition. Elham said she was “impressed by how proactive the ladies are to make their way to college everyday from remote areas and in asking me to visit.”
After an early start and a cup of cardamom tea, she set off from Dubai on the long road toward Liwa Oasis, it isn’t quite the same as traveling to the Pole, but it’s quite a trek! On the road from Dubai, there are plenty of rest stops, to refuel, refresh, eat and drink, but during her three week journey to the pole, she received no food drops or new supplies and there were no human settlements to help the expedition.
She inspired the students with her commitment, devotion and ability to push boundaries. She described how other people supported her and encouraged her to make her dream become a reality.
The first person she relied on was herself, but she couldn’t have done it alone, it was a team effort and she thanked her title sponsors, Al Tayer Motors and Land Rover. As part of her training for the trip, she pulled a Range Rover by herself, to increase her strength.
In her talk to the students she emphasized how much work was involved in the preparation for the trip, before they even left, eating a special diet and building her fitness, balance and coordination, and practicing in the snow.