From a nation where women making the headlines for something prominent is a scarcity,Namira Salim breaks all stereotypes with her impressive feats. The first Pakistani in space comes bearing a message of peace for the world. Not only that, she the first Pakistani to make her mark on the North Pole and the South pole. An avid explorer, her message of peace shines through her art as well.
In 2005, Namira Salim was selected to be part of a team of 100 people from a pool of 44,000 who made their way to space aboard the first ever commercial space liner Virgin Galactic. Thereby after this flight, she was officially recognised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of Pakistan as the “First Pakistani Astronaut.” She did not stop there and, later, acquired a certificate from USA that qualified her as having completed the training for Sub-orbital spaceflight. Her journeys to the North Pole and the South Pole in 2007 and 2008 were symbolic of her mission to spread peace and harmony everywhere. Having hoisted the Pakistani flag at the South Pole, she later said, “My polar mission is that of a peace ambassador.”
She also brought Pakistan under the spotlight due to her artistic efforts. Her peace-bearing ideas were evident in her work that has been under consideration at major UN and UNESCO summits. Her solo exhibits such as ‘Peace Making with Nation Souls’ and another one under the theme ‘Peace and Soul’ have been officially included in events pertaining to the United Nations. Namira’s humanitarian efforts were apparent in her solo exhibits in 2000 and 2011 which were in Dubai to motivate and rejuvenate the youth.
Not just that, she was a major influence on international relations of Pakistan when she helped establish the diplomatic accreditation between Pakistan and Monaco in 2009 as she is a resident of Monaco since 1997. For that, she was named the honorary ambassador of Pakistan in Monaco.
Due to her triumphs in her mission of spreading amity between nations as well as her adventurous expeditions, she was presented with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) by President Asif Ali Zardari on 23 March 2011. Namira Salim hopes that her accomplishments serve as inspiration for Pakistani women everywhere.
By Zohaa Wajid