From her early childhood, it was clear that Dolores Al Shelleh was destined to excel in the great outdoors.
Born to a Palestinian/Jordanian Muslim father and a Serbian Orthodox mother, she grew up with first-hand knowledge of both Western and Eastern cultures – an edge that would serve her well in the years to come. Raised primarily in Amman, Jordan, Dolores spent her summers in Serbia and some time on her grandmother’s farm – running across the fields, playing with animals and fishing with friends at the riverside. Spirited and daring at heart, she developed a genuine appreciation of adventures and outdoor activities, taking up numerous hobbies, including Taekwondo, long jump, swimming, track and field and horseback riding.
Both physically- and academically-inclined, Dolores completed a one-year scholarship in the United States in 2006, where she earned an honorary diploma. Following, she returned to Jordan to continue her studies and receive a high school diploma in Information Technology in 2008. Dolores went on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Petra in 2013.
Upon graduating, Dolores volunteered with UNRWA in its Legal and Human Resource Departments. But it wasn’t long before her love of adventure came calling. This time, Dolores set her sights on the daunting sport of mountain climbing. Defying social norms, challenging herself and stepping out of her comfort zone, she successfully summited her first mountain – Mount Mera Peak – in 2016. Overwhelmed by the weight and wonder of nature around her, the breathtaking mountain views and the quiet serenity, Dolores had uncovered a new passion. In the years after, she went on to scale multiple world-famous mountains, breaking records and blazing trails so that youth and women – particularly in the Arab world – can follow in her footsteps.
Mountain climbing being a truly unique and exceptional experience to her it necessitated a strong mindset, an unwavering commitment and boundless ambition, these arduous – and at times life-threatening – undertakings have taught her some of the most valuable life lessons. They imparted the importance of:
- Setting ones eyes firmly on the goal in the face of the toughest challenges;
- Not letting fear dictate ones choices;
- Turning pain into power through patience and gratitude; and
- Teaming up with positive, kind-spirited and supportive people who share ones vision and encourage to reach the highest potential.
In 2018, Dolores was appointed Brand Ambassador of The Sustainable City, in Dubai, where she currently manages Bedayat Business Incubator. A champion of women and youth empowerment, Dolores is collaborating closely with The Sustainable City to raise awareness on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – namely Climate Change, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Gender Equality – through her mountain climbing endeavours.
A real-life example that no field, no matter how male-dominated, is off-limits, Dolores looks forward to sharing her incredible story on breaking through glass ceilings with women and youth from around the world.
In 2016, Dolores kicked off her mountain climbing journey by ascending her first-ever peak in the Himalayas. She was immediately enthralled by the magnificent beauty and natural wonders all around her. From then on, Dolores continued down this demanding, yet rewarding, path, which culminated with her making history on 23 May 2019 as the first Arab woman to scale Mount Everest from the Northeast Ridge. In doing so, she also made her mark as the first Jordanian and second Serbian woman to achieve this remarkable feat.