Summit 2024

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Keynote Speaker | Friday Night Speaker | Clinicians | Schedule | Sponsors | Photos

Keynote Speaker

Mina Bakshi is an alumni of the Afghani non-profit Ascend. Ascend was founded in 2014 by Marina LeGree who, while living and working in Afghanistan, saw a unique opportunity to unlock the leadership skills of young women using the mountains surrounding their homes as a classroom. The program launched in 2015 and trained twenty Afghan girls. The pilot was a success and things took off fast, with over 200 girls participating in the program from 2015-2020. An award winning documentary film covering our pilot year can be seen here.

Ascend participants became leaders in their communities and instructors to the next program participants. Then, in August of 2021, the Taliban took control of the country and their reversal of women's rights forced an abrupt halt to the program.

In August 2021, Ascend responded to staff requests to evacuate their country, and shifted focus to help Afghan staff members, and in some cases where possible, their families. Mina was one of these young women. Ascend's evacuation efforts resulted in the resettlement of 134 Afghans to Chile, the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and Kazakhstan(see map below). You can read the full story of the evacuation and resettlement efforts here. A film by Patagonia follows some of the girls and can be seen here.

In 2023, Ascend resumed programming in Afghanistan, launched a new program in Pakistan, and invested in our Afghan alumnae worldwide through the Ascend Alumnae Association. We are so proud to have Mina as our key-note speaker and to hear the stories of women taking their place on the mountains of this world.

Listen to the Recent Podcast by Ascend Alumni, Mina, Sharing Her Journey: Climbing Rescued Her from Afghanistan.

Mina Bakshi

Mina Bakshi

Follow the links below for more information!

Keynote Speaker | Friday Night Speaker | Clinicians | Schedule | Sponsors | Photos