Suzanne Al Houby, a Palestinian-born and UAE-based mother of two, has become the first Arab woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.
Al Houby reached the 8,848-metre peak at 8:45AM on May 21, 2011, marking this triumph of the human spirit for the Palestinian people and, indeed, for the people of the Arab world as a whole.
Originally from Jaffa, Palestine, 40-year-old Al Houby spent 51 days scaling Mount Everest as part of a four-person team, three of whom successfully reached the summit. Since the world’s highest peak was first scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953, roughly 100 women from across the world have achieved this astonishing feat.
“I will never forget the moment when my dream became reality, when I saw the prayer flags flapping in the thin air, marking the summit of the greatest mountain on earth,” Al Houby recalls. “Standing on the summit, I looked left to the mountains of Nepal, then looked right to the mountains of China – all of them far, far below. I raised my hands, thanked God and hugged my climbing partners.