Determination, Resilience, Perseverance
I am Joyce Azzam, the first Lebanese woman to have climbed 26 mountains around the world. I'm stepping forward to complete the Seven Summits as the First Lebanese woman, after raising the Lebanese flag on five of the seven summits of the world.
As Conservation Architect, I bring together the world of adventure and architecture. My love for outdoor activities has unleashed a passion to research innovative approaches to protect and conserve cultural heritage sites specifically “Cultural Routes & Landscapes.”
My dream is to complete the Seven Summits by climbing Mt. Vinson & Mt. Everest, then reach the 2 poles and become the second woman in the world to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. Through my mountaineering achievements, I am keen to inspire girls and women to follow their dream and challenge themselves through #YesYouCan
Born during the Lebanese Civil War in Beirut, Lebanon, my family and I were deeply affected by the war and had to flee our home many times. Being born during a time of war, and into a family that’s not into the outdoor life, I don't attribute my love of mountains to my childhood, quite the opposite, actually. I never went outdoors. I survived the Lebanese Civil War until I was six or seven. During the war I was always underground in Beirut. There are times I don’t want to remember my childhood because I saw really horrible things. There were many times we had to flee the house because of the bombing.
My love of mountains sparked when I was a teenager. With a love of sports, I decided to take a friend up on their offer to go hiking, and so, twenty-six mountains later, I am still going after my mountain climbing dreams.
With my slogan, “mountains are my mentors,” I find strength from climbing mountains. But, you can’t mention my story without my studies because my love of mountains and my academic achievements is a symbiotic relationship. My love for the outdoors has unleashed a passion to research innovative approaches to protect and conserve cultural heritage sites specifically Cultural Routes & Landscapes. My three master’s degrees- one in Interior Architecture from the Lebanese University, and two in Italy- second Governance Models & Management of Local Public System from the University of Perugia, and the third one is in Conservation of Historic Cities and Buildings from La Sapienza University of Rome (all based on grants and scholarships). And, I have a PhD in Landscape and Environment from La Sapienza University of Rome. I'm blessed to be able to combine my career and my mountaineering work.