Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1247, (21-27 May2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1247, (21-27 May2015)

Ahram Weekly

Space odyssey

Omar Samra gets ready for his newest adventure, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader

Omar Samara
Omar Samara
Al-Ahram Weekly

Adventurer-mountaineer Omar Samra held a press conference last week to present his latest adventure. “I am preparing to travel to outer space. A 100km trip above sea level.” Samra said the trip will take a few hours, but added that the spaceship and equipment were not yet ready. “I am expecting this adventure to start next year.”

The visit to space has been long in coming. In late 2013, Samra was chosen to be an astronaut. At that time, he said the trip would be sometime in 2015. A competition launched by the AXE Apollo Space Academy in the US state of Florida aimed to launch 22 contestants into Earth’s outer orbit on a private spaceship built by the US company XCOR Aerospace and operated by the tourism firm Space Expedition Curacao. Tickets for the flight were set at $95,000.

Samra beat out 112 competitors worldwide and is among 21 other winners from around the world. He will thus become the first Egyptian in space.

On Earth, Samra told the news conference at Four Season Hotel Nile Plaza, “We will work in natural protectorates. We previously launched a cleaning campaign for Wadi Degla in Maadi which ran for five months.”

Samra will also work with the disabled. He said he will choose a number of youths with disabilities to climb the highest mountain in Egypt -- Saint Catherine, near the city of Saint Catherine in the South Sinai Governorate.

“I want to change the idea of special needs. Nothing is impossible. I believe any human being has the ability to do anything he wants if he puts his mind to it.”

Samra will visit 28 governorates and more than 100 schools in September to give lectures on how to increase their self-independence and the love of adventure and discovery. His tour will last an entire academic year.

“We are going to start a huge competition all across Egypt. All school students will be invited to compete.”

Samra, 36, became the first Egyptian and one of less than 40 people to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. He succeeded in crossing 111 kilometres and skiing to the last degree of the North Pole in the middle of the frozen Arctic Ocean. This was Samra’s last step in the Grand Slam Challenge, a feat that involves climbing the Seven Summits and skiing to the North and South Poles. Completing the Seven Summits Challenge in June 2013, Samra became the first Egyptian to climb the highest mountain on every continent. He also skied the last degree of the South Pole in December last year after a 14-day trip, crossing 111km across Antarctica.

Samra became the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest, reaching the summit on 17 May 2007.

The commercial International Bank-Egypt (CIB) partnership with Samra, which started in December 2014, develops the outstanding talents of ambitious youth and the commitment to providing much needed support.

CIB has been implementing several initiatives to solidify its goal of supporting the development of Egyptian youth.

Recently, the bank sponsored the third round of the cultural event ‘Salon Al-Ganoub’, held in Luxor, and launched an art initiative in cooperation with the Faculty of Fine Arts in South Valley University.

CIB acquired 40 art pieces by the faculty, students and graduates to be added to the bank’s art collection as an encouragement to further develop their unique art talents and generate more distinctive pieces. It also organised a cultural trip for 60 public schools students to the Cairo Opera House, in the context of its initiative to develop young students’ aesthetic sense through fine arts and music, which shape the minds of new generations.

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