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TALK 2015: Human Rights Challenges & Solutions

Shannon Galpin



Challenges & Solutions

Join us for an inspiring conversation with keynote Shannon Galpin óglobal humanitarian, activist, author, speaker, and founder of Mountain2Mountain.

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Shannon Galpin
Shannon Galpin

Shannon Galpin founded Mountain2Mountain in November 2006. A rape survivor and mother, she realized she couldn’t just stand on the sidelines, watching women and girls routinely raped, oppressed, and denied basic human rights. Believing that connecting communities on both sides of the equation was key to combating the apathy that prevents action and that changing perceptions was just as important as tangible projects, she developed events that involved communities and provoked discussion through art, music, and sport. Supporting grafitti art projects in Kabul and creating the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition, Shannon has focused on projects that empower voice and inspire others to combat apathy.

After four years working in various parts of Afghanistan working with women, it was in the Kandahar prison where Shannon was confronted with the power of voice. Frustrated by the lack of tangible help she would be able to provide, she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of stories from the women. They were desperate to be heard, to know that their injustice, their struggle, their heartbreak would survive outside of those walls. This experience led to the creation of Combat Apathy and Strength in Numbers.

An avid mountain biker continually focused on breaking gender barriers, in 2009, she became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, a country where the culture does not allow women to ride bikes. In 2010 she became the first person to ride across Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, which gave birth to the Panjshir Tour, a series of community bike rides in the US. Along the way, she always has a silver barrette given to her by one of the women inside the Kandahar prison - a piece of that woman free as Shannon fights for the rights of women and girls around the world. Shannon writes regularly for Huffington Post and Matador Network, and is currently writing her first book. She has been featured on Dateline NBC, Today Show, Huffington Post and in Outside Magazine. Her first TEDx talk was in 2012 on the Power of Voice which best illustrates the thread that links all of her work together. She is the subject of the award winning documentary film MoveShake screening at film festivals throughout 2012 and 2013 and is working as the producer for the upcoming documentary with Let Media about the Afghan National Women's Cycling Team.

Shannon was recognized for her work by National Geographic in November 2012 as one of their 2013 Adventurers of the Year.

twitter: @sgalpin
instagram: @sgalpin74

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