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|Mt. Everest Peace Expedition Reaches the Summit|
|By Robert Kittel, Director of Peace Education, UPF-Asia|
|Wednesday, May 20, 2009|
Kathmandu, Nepal - On May 20, three Nepali climbers reached the summit of Mt. Everest and unfurled a banner that read “Mt. Everest Expedition for a New Constitution and World Peace – 2009.”
People climb Mt. Everest for many reasons, often for adventure or to win glory for themselves. But what about climbing the highest peak in the world in order to help inspire the world's newest republic as it is writing a national Constitution?
Three members of the team reached the summit: Karma Bahdaur Tamang, Gokul Thapa, and Da Dendi Sherpa. They represented the entire network of Ambassadors for Peace in Nepal, risking their lives to bring innovative approaches to peace and unity. They carried a banner, signed by the heads of all 25 political parties, government leaders, leaders of the nine religions in Nepal, and UPF Founders Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon as a symbol of national unity and reflecting the spirit of nation-building.
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Coincidentally, the day they reached the summit, Nepali political leaders were meeting with parliamentarians from throughout Asia who had come for the eighth South Asia Peace Initiative conference to lend their insights and support for peaceful progress in the nation.
According to UPF-Nepal Secretary General Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, this project aimed to "initiate unity among all 25 political parties in Nepal, encouraging them to form a new constitution on time by practicing unity, team work, reconciliation, and partnership between religious and political leaders. The climbers removed debris from the Base Camp, promoting a culture of service in keeping with the teaching of Dr. Moon to live for the sake of others." In addition, it called attention to the Sherpas and their sacrificial way of life as they assist mountain climbers.
UPF-Nepal made huge sacrifices in terms of resources, time, and networking to carry out this project. Organizers met with the top leaders of the nation, including the President and Prime Minster, and explained to them the purpose of the project.
"Writing a new constitution is even more challenging than climbing Mt. Everest," Mr. Dhakal, a member of the Constituent Assembly, added; "therefore, all of us need to work sacrificially as a team for the sake of our people, our nation, and lasting peace."
Mt. Everest is on the northern border of Nepal, in the eastern part of the nation. This expedition took the popular route from Nepal up the South Col to the summit. The climbers stopped at the Thyangboche Buddhist monastery in the foothills to offer prayers for peace.
Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350 meters)
The base camp is where climbers begin their true trip up the mountain. It is here where support staff often remains to monitor the expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary. From base camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to the decreased oxygen in the air). This training and recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final push for the summit often being the only time for climbers to not go back and forth between camps to train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push.
To read Gokul Thapa's account of the expedition, click here.