Shannon Galpin founded the Colorado based non-profit, Mountain2Mountain in 2006 and is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for 2013. A rape survivor and mother she couldn’t stand on the sidelines watching women and girls routinely raped, oppressed and denied basic human rights. Believing that connecting communities on both sides of the equation was key to combating the apathy that prevents action, and that changing perceptions was just as important as tangible projects, she involves communities and provokes discussion through art, music, and sport. Supporting graffiti-art projects in Kabul and creating the “Streets of Afghanistan” life-sized photography exhibition, Shannon has focused on projects that empower voice for women and girls and inspire others to combat apathy.
While visiting the women inside Afghanistan’s Kandahar prison, where Shannon was confronted with the power of voice, the theme of her first TEDxMileHigh talk. In 2009, she became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, a country where the culture does not allow women to ride bikes. In 2010 she became the first person to ride across Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, which gave birth to the Panjshir Tour, a series of community bike rides in the U.S. Along the way, she always wears a silver barrette given to her by one of the women inside the Kandahar prison – a piece of that woman free as Shannon fights for the rights of women and girls around the world. Shannon writes regularly for Huffington Post and Matador Network, and is currently writing her first book. She has been featured on Dateline NBC, the TODAY Show, NBC Nightly News, National Geographic Adventure, and in the New York Times and Outside magazine. She is the subject of the award-winning documentary short film MoveShake, and is working as the producer for the upcoming documentary with Let Media about the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team.