Climb Your Own Everest: A Panel Discussion





“It all started with a dream”, Mostafa starts.“Today a mountaineer on top of the world, yesterday a dreamer standing on ground”, he speaks.


Mostafa Salameh, Motasem Ilawi, and Benjamin Ladraa meet in the Landmark hotel, Amman, for a panel discussion. Moderated by Ghassan Halawa, their story of dreams are narrated for the aspiring youth, entrepreneurs, adults, influencers, and more. Ghassan Halawa, the founder of Parachute16, has always believed in the powerful impact  of sharing stories anytime and anywhere in this world. Having a strong belief in the power of words and their impact on people, he follows the mantra, “we have to live after we die.” It’s important to point out that the “Everest” we dream of can be anything. 

Establishing his own path is what he aced doing in his past years. From growing up under the shelters of the camp in Al-Wihdat, to selling his mom’s homemade dessert for a living and serving others as a waiter under the construct of a restaurant, to studying in Queen Marquette university, Mostafa Salameh is now the first Jordanian, first Arab, in fact, and one of only 15 people in the world to ever reach Mount Everest as well as  the southern and northern poles in Greenland. “Life is all about climbing that mountain, and it is never easy”, Salameh says as he addresses all the dreamers standing right in front of him. He claims that the secret to achieving anything in your life is never giving up, and trusting in the whole process. Salameh created the turning point of his life from the dream he had late at night, and so can everyone else. We are all asked to look behind the scenes and watch out for that point of transformation.

“It is not about what you do, it is about how you do”, Motasem Ilaiwi speaks up. Motasem has been one of the many Palestinians that have had their movements restricted by the Israeli forces where he was literally jailed in the grounds of Palestine for a year and a half until he could move out of his comfort zone to find his purpose of living. “As long as you are not dead, you are still alive and capable of coming back alive”, Ilaiwi shares as part of his dark past experiences. “You have to visualize, then believe, to achieve”, Ilaiwi always told himself. He has believed in the power of a human self and how capable we are of transforming our lives by ourselves. We have to let our ideas revolve around our dreams to reach that “Everest” of ours. “For me, activism is in fact a way of living”, Benjamin Ladraa reflects upon his 330 day walk to Palestine. Ladraa prioritizes his empathy whenever and wherever he goes.

“Back then, we were a bunch of Swedish kids trying to just learn how to “know” things. We had to go out and learn”, Ladraa says flashing back to his school memories in Sweden. This is where he started to evolve as a kid. It was when he realized that the more he was reading, the more he was not “knowing”. He started believing in the power of traveling, meeting new people, and learning more about their issues and occupations. It was from here that he noticed we can never know as much about a culture unless we experience living in their rural and urban shoes. It was from here that Ladraa learnt that being an activist is not enough, he had to walk. It was from here that he believed walking was what was equal to speaking up. “I don’t like social norms. Studying, getting money, then surviving… that is not how I think of things. I highly believe in the power of mass movements. They always create the greater of change.” Ladraa does not stop with brilliant ideas. “If you have brilliant ideas and have never acted upon them, then you have achieved nothing”. Ghassan ends the panel discussion with an inspiring quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. His ending connects  the relationship that draws big dreams with big achievements. “You have to dream big in order to achieve big”, he emphasizes.

  • Categories : collaboration, humanitarian, inspiration

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