The Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal
In May 2003, the entire world celebrated the 50th anniversary of of an event that captured the imagination as few adventures have before or since: an expedition led by Sir John Hunt culminated in the first ascent of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
Surprisingly, an event that has been etched in our collective consciousness as the ultimate human triumph on Earth gave rise to an achievement of far greater importance. Sir Edmund found in his Himalayan adventure and his subsequent celebrity the inspiration and the opportunity to "return the favor" by assisting the people who were his comrades on that climb, and by helping to protect their beautiful homeland. Through his personal efforts, and through the foundations that he helped establish in New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and Germany, Sir Edmund built some 30 schools, two airstrips, two hospitals, and 11 village clinics. He assisted in the restoration of monasteries, instituted scholarship and teacher training programs, and established reforestation projects in Khumbu, Mustang, and the Annapurna region. In every case, Sir Edmund undertook projects at the specific request of the local residents.
In 2003 the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal was initiated by unanimous resolution of the Namche Conference: Parks, People and Mountain Tourism. The Hillary Medal both recognizes Sir Edmund's life-long commitment to the welfare of mountain people and their environment and also encourages the continuing emulation of his example. It is awarded for remarkable service in the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions. [ Read about the Making of the Medal ] [ Read about the Medalists ]
|Peter Hillary presented the first Hillary Medal to Helen Cawley and Michael Schmitz on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Mount Everest.|
The Hillary Medal is a project of Mountain Legacy, a Nepalese NGO (reg. #1018/060-61; www.mountainlegacy.org. It was fully authorized by Sir Edmund Hillary. Dr. Seth Sicroff serves as Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal Project Director.