The internationally famous solo rock and sky scraper climber, dubbed ‘The French Spiderman’, will create history next week during the Education Without Borders 2011 (EWB 2011) international student conference when he climbs the world’s tallest building ‘ the Burj Khalifa.
Alain Robert, 48, who has been climbing since his teenage years has scaled more than 100 of the world’s tallest buildings including the second to fifth highest structures, often without the aid of safety harnesses, will scale the exterior of the Burj Khalifa as part of EWB 2011, which is hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology and runs from March 28-31 in Dubai.
M. Robert has been given approval to climb the Burj Khalifa early next week and in doing so he will reacquaint himself with the EWB conferences. As part of the 2003 EWB conference Robert climbed the 173-metre National Bank of Abu Dhabi building, watched by almost 100,000 spectators.
That was his first climbing foray with the EWB conferences, returning for 2005 event where he climbed the 160-metre Etisalat building in Abu Dhabi. For the 2007 EWB he climbed the 185-metre ADIA building, also in Abu Dhabi.
Robert has climbed the Eiffel Tower, Paris; the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the Sydney Opera House, Australia; the Sears Tower, Chicago and the 88-storey Jin Mao Building in Shanghai, China (wearing a Spider Man suit) to name a few buildings during his climbing career.
For his Burj Khalifa climb he said he would use a rope and harness, as opposed to his preferred method of just his bare hands and sturdy footing.
Although M. Robert suffers from vertigo, sustained through climbing falls, his true passion remains in climbing and he sees the Burj Khalifa as the ultimate urban challenge in his career to date. He is also an accomplished motivational speaker, proving that will power can conquer many setbacks and restrictions.
‘We set ourselves limits, but we are all strong enough to aim higher, to achieve our goals. All we have to do is find such strength within ourselves and know how to develop it,’ he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor, Higher Colleges of Technology and Chairman of the EWB Conference, said Alain Robert was the embodiment of the EWB philosophy.
‘Alain Robert is a firm believer of using inner strength and determination to achieve goals in life, which is strongly reflected in the philosophy of Education Without Borders ‘ it allows students to find their inner strength and passion to voice their ideas about finding solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues,’ Dr Kamali said.
‘Alain has been a guest of the Higher Colleges of Technology at EWB conferences before and we always welcome him back, especially now with such a huge challenge before him in the Burj Khalifa. I am sure he will be an inspiration to everyone at EWB 2011.
‘His climb will be a wonderful and memorable way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Education Without Borders,’ Dr Kamali said.
The Burj Khalifa will be the backdrop to the EWB 2011’s opening ceremony held in the Burj Island Park on March 28. The conference is held under the patronage of the President of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan.
For this unique four-day conference, nearly 4000 students representing 129 nationalities competed to participate. More than 700 conference papers were submitted addressing the conference theme ‘Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges: Diverse Perspectives, Unified Action’.
The conference also brings together accomplished world leaders as well as rising stars from the fields of business, government, sports, science, culture, media and the like to mentor and inspire these young students. The mentors include The Right Honorable Tony Blair, Quartet Representative to the Middle East & Patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Dr. Mark Plotkin, President, Amazon Conservation Team, CNN Hero Evan Wadongo, Yolande Kakabadse, President, WWF International, and young writer and speaker Adora Svitak, among others.
An associated event, the EWB World Forum, will be convened at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa in Dubai on the second day of the conference, where Heads of State, business executives, and other influential thought leaders from around the world will meet to discuss the impact of globalization on education and capacity development.
Dr Tayeb Kamali said the biennial conference had grown rapidly since its inception in 2001.
‘This is, indeed, a great moment. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary, it is opportune to recognize that the conference has grown exponentially in the number of students, speakers and mentors to become one of the world’s foremost student-organized forums ‘ an event where students from around the world, and from different backgrounds, join as one voice to pursue Innovative Solutions to Global Challenges,’ Dr Kamali said.
‘Given that it is a student organized event, it is not hard to understand that EWB has grown so rapidly from a small number of students in 2001 to this year’s event, where we will host more than 1000 students from 130 nations and 300 universities during the next few days. There are 36 members of the World Student Organizing Committee (WSOC), which is the largest in the history of EWB and is indicative of how much the conference has grown.’
The EWB conference, which started in 2001, is unique in that it is designed by students for students with the objective to create networks across cultures so that they may understand, and generate solutions for, some of the world’s greatest challenges. This is achieved by engaging the world’s most innovative students and leaders in the business, technology, education, and humanitarian sectors in a collaborative forum that culminates in a commitment to action.