Wednesday, February 22, 2012


In just a few days time, Zeena al Towayya will become the first Omani woman to go on an expedition to the Antarctic. The IT professional will be joining the International Antarctic Expedition (IAE) 2041 on February 25. The news was announced at a press conference at the Caledonian College of Engineering, who is supporting the expedition, earlier this week.

Zeena will be taking after fellow Omanis Bader al Rahbi and Ali al Esry, who joined the expedition last year. On February 27, she will join a team of 72 people from all over the globe in Ushuaia, Argentina, from where they will continue by ship to begin their journey in the Antarctic. The group will be led by founder of IAE 2041, Robert Swan, a polar explorer and environmental leader who is also the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles.

“I am glad to be part of a team that aims to promote recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change,” said Zeena during the press conference. “I will gain firsthand knowledge of the continent’s fragile ecosystem, experience its wildlife and observe the magnificent landscapes of the Antarctic.”

IAE 2041 has been conducting corporate expeditions to the Antarctic since 2003. Its goal is to educate on and promote the protection of the Antarctic Treaty. The treaty, which will be open to modification or amendment in the year 2041, aims to keep the area demilitarised, establish it as a zone free of nuclear tests and the disposal of radioactive waste, promote international scientific cooperation and set aside disputes over territorial sovereignty.

Zeena hopes that with the help of Bader and Ali, she will be able to convince Oman to sign the protocol for the treaty, which has 27 other signatory countries. “As an expedition member, I will be responsible for informing, engaging and inspiring Omani youths to be proactive and take initiatives that will protect the environment and provide a sustainable future,” said Zeena.

“On my return, I plan to give lectures at colleges, schools and community gatherings. I always had a vision to do voluntary work, become a leader of positive change and conserve the environment.”

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