New officers and Honorary Member elected at UIAA General Assembly in Amsterdam

Featured, General Assembly

19 October 2012, BERN, Switzerland: The UIAA – International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation concluded its annual General Assembly in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 13 October 2012, an event hosted by the Royal Dutch Mountaineering and Climbing Club (NKBV).

More than 100 members from 49 federations attended the assembly.

Major appointments and decisions by the assembly included:

Frits Vrijlandt elected new president of UIAA

Dutch mountaineer Frits Vrijlandt was elected president of the UIAA for a four-year term after positioning himself as the candidate of change.

“The UIAA has a great history and I want to make sure we have a great future as well,” Vrijlandt said before the General Assembly attendees voted. He said it was time for the UIAA to leave behind a recent history of turbulence marked by five different presidents in eight years.

Vrijlandt said he would work to ensure that the future of the organization was marked by stability and growth with a special focus on the interests of the smaller members of the UIAA family. He also said he would be guided by the Strategic Plan, the road map for the UIAA (2013-2016) which was was approved by the General Assembly.
Vrijlandt began his involvement with the mountains as young boy hiking and downhill skiing in 1970 and soon graduated to rock climbing in 1986. After he became an active mountaineer he spent almost two months of the year climbing around the world including mountains in Africa, Europe, Russia, North and South America and Asia.

They included expeditions to Kilimanjaro (Tanzania – 5895 m), Aconcagua (Andes, Argentina – 6960 m), Mount Everest (Himalaya, Tibet – 8850 m), Mount McKinley, (Rocky Mountains, Alaska – 6194 m), Carstensz Pyramid (Papua – 4884 m), Vinson Massif (Ellsworth, Antarctica – 4897 m), Kangchenjunga (Himalaya, Nepal) 8,596 m (up to 7050 m) and  Broad Peak (Karakoram, Pakistan – 8047 m (to 7200 m).

He was the president of the Royal Dutch Mountaineering and Climbing Club (NKBV) from 2006 to 2012 and has been a member of the UIAA Management Committee for six years.

Vrijandlt is currently CEO of Vrijlandt Advies BV, an interim management services provider for telecommunications companies such as Reggefiber, Easynet, Global Crossing Europe, Global Crossing Benelux, Versatel, T-Mobile and Telfort as well as real estate companies Dutch Water Board and GGNet.

New Executive Board and Management Committee members elected

The General Assembly also saw the election of three new members to the Executive Board after Jordi Colomer (Spain) who was acting president for the UIAA since the 2011 General Assembly in Kathmandu, Nepal stepped down.

The former UIAA General Secretary Nico de Jong of the Netherlands also stepped down after serving on the Executive Board for eight years.

The new members of the Executive Board which meets five times a year are Helène Denis (France), Pier  Giorgio Oliveti (Italy) and Thomas Kaehr (Switzerland.) Their mini biographies can be found here.

New members were also chosen for the Management Committee which includes Executive Board members, representatives from the five largest member associations, one representative from each continent and three to five representatives elected by the General Assembly.

The Management Committee is responsible for among other things implementing the policy directives and decisions of the General Assembly, preparing the annual accounts and make recommendations for long-term strategies for the UIAA.

Newly elected members are Lucia Foppoli (Italy), Tadao Kanzaki  (Japan), David Munõz  (Chile), Joan Garrigos i Toro (Spain), Col. H.S. Chauhan (India), Nejat Akinci (Turkey), Anne Arran (United Kingdom), Helène Denis (France) and Thomas Kaehr (Switzerland).

Strategic Plan

The UIAA General Assembly voted unanimously to approve a historic Strategic Plan or the road map for the organization between 2013 – 2016.

The plan includes steps to stabilize and grow the organization’s role as an international body focused on mountaineering, mountain protection, training, youth activities and the development of competition sport.The plan also includes initiatives to stablise the organization’s finances through sponsorship and other funding initiatives.

Ang Tshering Sherpa elected as Honorary Member of the UIAA

Long-time UIAA member Ang Tshering Sherpa was elected Honorary Member of the UIAA after being nominated for the position by Zimba Zangbu Sherpa, President of the Nepal Mountaineering Federation.

Ang Tshering Sherpa is past president of the Nepal Mountaineering Federation and is a prominent ambassador for mountaineering and trekking in Nepal.

He has been a strong advocate for mountain protection, sustainable development and the need for balance between commercial and non-commercial mountaineering activities in his native Nepal. His many awards include a Lifetime achievement award for the highest contribution in tourism on the occasion of Nepal Unification Day.

Other UIAA Honorary Members who can be found here include Sir Edmund Hillary, Walter Bonatti, Robert Leopold, William Putnam, Jordi Pons-Sangines, Pit Schubert and Kazuo Saito.

Honorary membership is limited to one individual a year.

Nominees are chosen by 75 per cent of the votes at the General Assembly (present or represented) and they must be a member of a UIAA federation.

About the UIAA

The UIAA was founded in 1932 and has 80 member associations in 50 countries representing about 1.3 million people. The organization’s mission is to promote the growth and protection of mountaineering and climbing worldwide, advance safe and ethical mountain practices and promote responsible access, culture and environmental protection.

The organization operates through the work of its commissions which make recommendations, set policy and advocate on behalf of the mountaineering community. The UIAA is recognized by the International Olympic Committee for mountaineering and natural surface climbing.

For more photos from the General Assembly click here.