Namira Salim

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Namira Salim (Urdu: نمیرا سلیم;born 1975 in Karachi, Pakistan) is a Pakistani explorer and artist and the first Pakistani to have reached the North Pole in April 2007[1] and the South Pole in January 2008.[2] She also holds the distinction of being the first Asian and first Pakistani to skydive over Mount Everest during the historic First Everest Skydives 2008.[3] Namira, being the only Pakistani member of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial space liner, is widely known as the first Pakistani to travel into space.

She was short-listed among 100 space tourists in 2005 out of 44,000 candidates and launched personally to the world press by Sir Richard Branson himself in March 2006.[4] Subsequently, in August 2006, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of Pakistan officially launched Namira as the "First Pakistani Astronaut" who has said she hopes her achievements are an inspiration for Pakistani women.[5]

In October 2007, Namira trained and qualified for her suborbital Spaceflight at the NASTAR Center in the United States, under the supervision of Virgin Galactic. In February 2008, she presented her Sub-Orbital Spaceflight Training Certificate to former President Pervez Musharraf.[6]

Namira's art has come to voice global issues at top UN and UNESCO summits, in addition to her exhibits under the Patronage of Royalty in the UAE.[7] In May 2002, she held a solo exhibit "Peace Making with Nation Souls" which was an official supporting event to the UN General Assembly Special Session for Children.[8] In October 2000, she exhibited solo at UNESCO's Executive Board under the theme Peace & Soul. In September 2000 and May 2011 she held solo exhibitions in Dubai under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman Emirates Airline & Group for the inspiration of youth.

Through all her art exhibits and polar expeditions, Namira Salim has been honored for avidly promoting Peace and goodwill.[9] On 23 March 2011, H.E. Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan conferred Namira with one of the country's highest civil decoration Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence).[10]

Although she is a distinguished resident of the Principality of Monaco since 1997,[11] Namira has spent much of her life in Dubai, where her family has been based since 1981.[citation needed] Namira Salim's efforts led to the diplomatic accreditation between Pakistan and Monaco in February 2009. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II's Sovereign Ordinance dated 1 August 2011, authorized Namira Salim to practice her function as the First Honorary Consul of Pakistan to the Principality of Monaco.[12] On March 2012, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco inaugurated the First Consulate of Pakistan in a high profile ceremony organized by Namira Salim at the prestigious Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.[13] Namira Salim's activities are widely written about in the international press.[14]

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