Namira Salim (Urdu: نمیرا سلیم) born in Karachi, Pakistan is an explorer and artist. She is the first Pakistani to have reached the North Pole in April 2007 and the South Pole in January 2008. She is the first Asian to skydive over Mount Everest, during the First Everest Skydives 2008. Namira, the only Pakistani member of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial space liner, is the first Pakistani to travel into space.
Namira, being one of the earliest Founders of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial space liner, will be the First South Asian and first Monaco and Dubai Resident to travel to space. She was short-listed among 100 space tourists in 2005 out of 44,000 candidates and launched personally to the world press by Branson in March 2006. In August 2006 the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of Pakistan called Namira the "First Pakistani Astronaut".
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.
Namira Salim has been a resident of the Principality of Monaco since 1997. She holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and her personal efforts led to the diplomatic accreditation between Pakistan and Monaco in February 2009. The Sovereign Ordinance of Prince Albert II, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, dated 1 August 2011 authorized Namira Salim to practice her function as the First Honorary Consul of Pakistan to the Principality of Monaco. In March 2012, Prince Albert II inaugurated the first Consulate of Pakistan in a ceremony organized by Namira Salim at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. In 2007, Namira served as Honorary Ambassador of Tourism for Pakistan, appointed by the Ministry of Tourism.
Namira Salim is the Founder of SpaceTrust, a non-profit initiative that promotes Space as the New Frontier for Peace. Its inaugural event, an interactive exhibition and conference was held in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II on 29 November 2015, for which Namira secured official partnerships with State Space Corporation - ROSCOSMOS, the Russian Space agency, SUPARCO, the National Space Agency of Pakistan and other leading establishments affiliated to the Princely Government. Three cosmonauts at the International Space Station delivered a video message during the conference. The main feature of the interactive exhibition, which contained seven customized APPs, was a 3.5-meter “Black Marble Earth” depicting the latest night view of Earth from Space, acquired by the Suomi NPP Satellite in nine days in April 2012 and thirteen days in October 2012, over 312 orbits.
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Exhibitions and documentary
In May 2002 Salim held a solo exhibit "Peace Making with Nation Souls" as an official supporting event to the UN General Assembly Special Session for Children. In October 2000, she exhibited solo at UNESCO's Executive Board under the theme Peace & Soul. In September 2000, Namira held a solo exhibition “Purely A Soul Affair” and in May 2011 launched her documentary “Beyond the Poles” in Dubai, under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman Emirates Airline & Group for the inspiration of youth. The film documented her journey to the three poles and events with Branson and Virgin Galactic since 2006. It premiered in Pakistan at the Airforce Academy in Risalpur in May 2011, and in France during the OIC Day at UNESCO in September 2011.
On 23 March 2011, Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan conferred on Namira the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence). She was awarded the Power 100 Trailblazer Award by Pakistan Power 100 in London in September 2013 for her efforts to promote international peace and harmony. Namira Salim was placed on the Pakistan Power 100's “Women Power 100” list, as were former National Assembly Speaker Fahemida Mirza and former Foreign Minister Hina Rabanni Khar.
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- AFP TV - Virgin Galactic Charts New Flight Plan at Farnborough
- Columbia University Magazine - Airfare for the Common Man
- Diplomat Magazine - The Daring Diplomat
- Hofstra University Alumna of the Month - March 2008: Namira Salim
- Huffington Post - Virgin Galactic Founder Astronaut Namira Salim: 'We Should Send Politicians Into Space'
- Khaleej Times - Pakistan Embassy honours two women’s efforts for peace
- Monaco Matin - Comment Namira est devenue aventurière de l'espace
- Tribune Pakistan - Pakistan’s ‘first’ astronaut: Namira Salim looks forward to fulfilling lifelong dream