Event Detail


Journeys to the Poles and Beyond

Robert Swan OBE
Thursday, 24 Nov 2005
Jardine Penthouse, Jardine House

Journeys to the Poles and Beyond
Robert Swan, OBE
Thursday, 24 November 2005
The Jardine Penthouse, 48/F Jardine House, One Connaught Place
Drinks 6.30 pm; Lecture 7.30 pm
There is a drinks reception with snacks prior to the lecture. We are delighted to welcome to speak Robert Swan, the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles. Robert Swan is an adventurer who has tested his strength to the limit in the planet's most hostile environments. His 900mile journey in 1986 across the treacherous Antarctic ice cap to the South Pole stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made. Mr. Swan is widely known as a fine speaker and the lecture is illustrated with superb slides. Working for the British Antarctic Survey, it took Mr. Swan more than five years to raise the £2.5 million needed for his expedition to the South Pole. The team of Robert Swan, Roger Mear and Gareth Wood, after spending a winter in the Antarctic, set off across the desolate ice cap for 900 miles reaching the Pole on 11 January 1986. It was the longest unassisted march in history and before the era of safety radios, they pulled on their sledges their total needs for the walk. Mr. Swan's vision turned to the North Pole. The International North Pole Expedition was designed to draw attention to the environmental crisis confronting both the polar and world ecologies. Involving 500 sponsors, in March 1989 he set off with his international eightman team to cross 500 miles of frozen Arctic sea. They had to deal with towering ice walls, temperatures of 55 degrees, and fragmented ice which was drifting six miles a day, leaving large stretches of open water ahead of them. In the appalling weather they had to be wary against the attack of polar bears. On 11 May 1989, Mr. Swan became the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. Mr. Swan read Ancient History at Durham University and then joined the British Antarctic Survey. Following his South Pole Expedition, in 1987 he was awarded the Polar Medal by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Since his polar exploits, Mr. Swan has been involved in many other endevours, including international student expeditions. In 1992, he was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Rio Earth Summit. His contribution to education and the environment have been recognised through his appointment as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, the Award of the European Union "Ambassador for the Environment", a Visiting Professorship and in 1994 he became Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO. He was awarded a honourary doctorate in 1993 and the OBE in 1995. He has also been involved with many initiatives to preserve the Antarctic as the great wilderness on earth. Early in 2006, he is planning to lead a team to Antarctica for the opening of its first Education Base, followed by a circumnavigation of the Americas via the Northwest Passage. Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$50 for Members, HK$100 for Members' guests and HK$150 for others.

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