Every day we hear new stories about the unexpected and fascinating ways people are using Skype. Of the thousands of examples, we nominated five exceptional candidates for the Skype Hero 2012 award. From an explorer to a doctor to a teacher to two different people using Skype to resolve conflict and promote world peace, all of the nominees are more than deserving of the award.
Alas, there could only be one winner. You, the global Skype community, voted on the nominee who best exemplified a positive way Skype is being used for the greater good of the world.
The results are in. And the Skype Hero 2012 winner is… world-renowned explorer, educator and speaker: MARK WOOD.
Mark was the first person to reach the North and South Poles on solo, unsupported and back-to-back expeditions. He has cycled across North America and is currently living in Nepal, training to summit Mount Everest early next year. Throughout his adventures, Mark uses Skype to share his experiences in real time with school kids around the globe.
These adventures do not simply showcase Mark’s derring-do. His Skype video calls with classrooms are an interactive seminar on the impact of climate change. Mark delivers first-hand accounts to thousands of students in some 40 different countries about how climate change is affecting the regions of the world that he explores.
Upon notification of his win, Mark said, “To be recognized and nominated by Skype was incredible in the first place. I felt honored to be on the same list with four inspiring individuals. To win is a bit surreal as what I am doing is basically a way of life for me. But with Skype I’ve been able to break down so many boundaries and share my way of life with students around the globe.”
For example, Mark recently held a Skype video call about the environment with Kesennuma Omose Elementary School in Japan. Mark called the students from Namche Bazaar – a village in Nepal’s Khumbu District known as the gateway to the Himalayas.
Mark explained how the phenomenon seen in the North and South Poles are affecting the entire world including places like Nepal and Japan. He also introduced the scenery and local students in Namche through the video call, so students in both countries were able to meet.
Mark is excited to continue his work in 2013. He says, “Skype plays a leading role in connecting students and teachers from the extremes of the planet and, next year, we will be pushing the boundaries of mental, physical and technological limits to reach out to even more students.”
As the Skype Hero 2012, Mark will have his portrait painted by renowned artist Sandro Kopp. Sandro himself is an innovative Skype user who performs the traditional art of oil portraiture over the modern technology of video calling.