The Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) and Elite Mountaineer, activist, and cultural heritage expert Dr. Joyce Azzam, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) officially announcing Joyce as the new LMTA Ambassador based in Lebanon, adding to the association’s existing group of 10 international ambassadors outside of Lebanon.

An inspiration to many, Joyce will not only hike the LMT, but will also promote the conservation of Lebanon’s precious cultural and natural heritage along the trail, a cause dear to her heart. She will also highlight the benefits of hiking on mental health and well-being which have always been a main social pillar throughout her various projects.

Joyce Azzam & Omar Sakr (LMTA president)
Joyce Azzam & Omar Sakr (LMTA president)

“I feel blessed to come from a country that is adorned by magnificent mountains where a rich cultural heritage can be experienced. I will draw my strength and inspiration from the LMT for my next expedition, “said Joyce Azzam on this occasion.

As a new LMT Ambassador, Joyce will show the all-season possibilities on the LMT (hiking, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing) and the beauty of the trail during the winter season as the first planned initiative which will be launched soon. This partnership is very much aligned with the mission of the LMTA which seeks to protect the natural, cultural, and architectural heritage and landmarks near the trail; and to enhance economic opportunities for communities that live along the trail by promoting responsible tourism.

Jackie Khairallah, Julie Lebnan, Joumana Brihi & Joyce Azzam
Jackie Khairallah, Julie Lebnan, Joumana Brihi & Joyce Azzam

From the LMTA’s side, Mr. Omar Sakr, President of the LMTA, believes that this partnership will help raise awareness about the LMTA’s mission and the importance of protecting and preserving the trail, while showcasing a more positive and hopeful image of Lebanon at a difficult time for the Lebanese people.

Many projects are planned for this year, and the first one, which will be launched in around 10 days, will shed light on the beauty and under-explored side of the trail during the winter season.

The signing ceremony, which took place at Ardoum winery – Mtein, ended on a positive and promising note with what this partnership can offer both Joyce and the LMTA.

The event took place at Ardoum winery - Mtein
The event took place at Ardoum winery – Mtein

About Joyce Azzam

From living in a cramped bunker during the Lebanese civil war to battling chronic lung condition and a potentially debilitating hypermobility syndrome, Dr. Joyce Azzam became the first Lebanese woman to complete “The Seven Summits Challenge,” braving frigid temperatures and killer oxygen levels by successfully climbing the tallest mountain on every continent, one of the first three women in the Arab World and one of 75 women worldwide. She also scaled over 28 of the most challenging mountains around the world, including Mt. Everest, Kilimanjaro, and Denali in Alaska and Vinson in Antarctica.

Joyce frequently features as an expert or motivational speaker on the international circuit promoting her dear causes of inspiring youth and women to overcome life and societal challenges and promoting conservation of precious cultural and environmental endowments. Working with international organizations, academia, think tanks and local communities across several continents, Joyce builds on her personal and professional achievements, education, networks and lessons from around the world to inspire change, social empowerment and growth. Now, Joyce is the ambassador of the Lebanese Ice Hockey Federation (women’s team) supporting women in sports and volunteers with Himaya NGO as a child protection advocate. She is a motivational speaker for youth groups, entrepreneurs, athletes, international NGO’s & foundations in various countries as Lebanon, Alaska, Argentina, Nepal, Toronto, Italy, Tunisia & Tanzania. She was featured on numerous podcasts and interviews on international media channels such as CNN, Rai1, and France24, beIN Sports, Skynews and others with tens of millions in audience reach in the MENA Region, North America, South America, Europe and Asia; and appears in a number of upcoming feature productions. Recently, she has been designated as Goodwill Ambassador for Himalayan Life International.

Joyce earned a PhD in landscape & environment management from La Sapienza University of Rome; Master’s Degree in Conservation of Historic Cities and Buildings from La Sapienza University of Rome; Master’s Degree in Governance Models and Management of Local Public System from the University of Perugia in Italy; Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Lebanese University.

For further information about the Joyce Azzam, visit her official website: http://www.joyceazzam.com

About the LMTA

Established in 2007 the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (LMTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining and protecting the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) and its side trails.
The LMTA works to protect the natural, cultural and architectural heritage and landmarks near the trail; and to enhance economic opportunities for communities that live along the trail, by promoting responsible tourism.
In normal time (pre-pandemic) the LMT attracts more than 30 000 visitors per year and represents a unique national corridor for rural tourism and conservation. The LMTA organizes twice a year ‘Thru Hikes’ during which time the full trail is hiked from South to North and North to South simultaneously. During Thru Hikes, hikers flock from Lebanon and around the world, experiencing not just the hikes and outstanding nature and culture that is found along the trail, but also unique culinary experiences and overnight stays at local guesthouses where the flair of each village’s culture permeates.
The LMTA has not organized Thru Hikes during the pandemic; 2022 marks a return to hiking activities on the Trail with the LMTA’s 12th annual Thru-Hike which will take place from April 6 till May 6, 2022.
For further information about the LMT, donate or become a member, visit: https://www.lebanontrail.org/