Mingma Norbu Sherpa
Born in 1955 in the Sherpa village of Khunde, in the Everest region of Nepal, Mingma was one of the first students to graduate from the Hillary Khumjung School - the first of many schools developed for Sherpa children with the assistance of Sir Edmund Hillary, famed conqueror of Mt. Everest. With further support from the Hillary Foundation, Mingma went on to receive a diploma in Parks and Recreation from Lincoln College, University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 1980 and a Masters degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba in 1985.
Between his studies abroad, Mingma returned to Nepal and worked as a park warden for Sagarmatha National Park, home to Mount Everest. He was the first Sherpa to have served as Warden of Sagarmatha after Sir Edmund Hillary helped establish the park in 1976.
When he returned again to Nepal in 1985, Mingma became very involved in the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), initially as a principle investigator for the feasibility study of the Annapurna area, and later as the director of the project itself.
Among his many achievements, Mingma was a Fulbright Scholar in 1987 at the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan, to develop a strategy for environmental education in the ACAP. Additionally, he was a recipient of the Gorkha Dhaksin Bhahu medal from His Majesty the King of Nepal for his conservation work in Nepal. Mingma was also awarded the Order of the Golden Ark Award from His Royal Highness Prince Bernard of the Netherlands for his conservation achievement in the Himalayas.Key to Mingma's ability to achieve remarkable results was his consistent return to the values and philosophies of Sir Edmund Hillary. He adopted and applied Hillary's approach in Bhutan, and focused his work on extending this method of thinking throughout the Eastern Himalayas. Sir Edmund Hillary and Mingma shared the same belief that without the support of the local people we cannot protect the natural heritage of his homeland.