Belfast Telegraph

Inspirational Mark has date at Harvard with Chelsea Clinton

By Victoria O'Hara

Inspirational blind adventurer and explorer Mark Pollock has been honoured for being among the best young leaders committed to changing society for the better by a global organisation.

The man from Holywood, Co Down, who was paralysed in 2010 following an accident, was among 199 people from 70 countries selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

The charitable organisation annually honours people for their professional accomplishments and commitment to society.

Mark (36), who became the first blind man to reach the South Pole, will now travel to Harvard University next month to discuss how to tackle major issues, including spinal injuries. He was shortlisted from thousands of candidates and will join other people including the daughter of former US President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and singer

The aim of the Young Global Leaders Class of 2013 is focused at representing the best of today's leaders under the age of 40 and is aimed at co-creating a community of "insight and action committed to improving the world".

Mark said he hopes to highlight his pioneering work and ideas around spinal cord injury and recovery.

"I believe the cure for spinal cord injury requires enough people having it as their aim," he said. "I hope to collaborate with members of the Young Global Leaders to help make a cure for spinal cord injury a reality."

All of those honoured were drawn from a pool of several thousand candidates who were chosen by a committee, chaired by Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The selection was based on the track record of the individual, their leadership experience, ability to overcome adversity and commitment to society.


Athlete, rower and author Mark Pollock (36) lost his sight 14 years ago and almost died in 2010, falling out of a two-storey window while sleepwalking. Blindness has not stopped Mark from taking part in extreme challenges, such as the Gobi March, the Dead Sea Ultra, the Everest Marathon, the Irish Sea Kayak Challenge from Ireland to Wales and the North Pole Marathon.

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