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French Spiderman eyes vertical limit in Dubai

Robert's bid on Burj Khalifa to highlight education conference

View from the top
Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Archive
Alain Robert, seen here after successfully climbing the etisalatbuilding on Shaikh Rashid road in Abu Dhabi, estimates he
Gulf News

Dubai: Alain Robert, dubbed the French Spiderman, is set to climb Burj Khalifa on Monday to mark the opening of the 10th Education Without Borders (EWB) Conference organised by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT).

Robert is best known for scaling the Paris' Eiffel Tower and Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers relying on his bare hands and remarkable sense of balance. However, he is taking a different approach for the Burj Khalifa stunt. "People are used to seeing me climb without safety but this time our main concern is safety," said Roberts.

"Although I'm known for climbing without safety [equipment] this is a different game because Burj Khalifa is much taller than any of the previous tallest buildings in the world."

For this reason he has opted to climb the world's current tallest building, which stands at 828 metres, using a rope and harness.

He estimates his effort to take anywhere between six to seven hours. "I'm not sure about timing, it's difficult for me to tell how long it will take, but I do know once I'm at the top I will be very tired." However, the novelty of being the first to climb the world's tallest building has worn off, said Robert as his ascent of the Taipei World Financial Centre made him the first to climb the world's tallest tower in 2004.


His climb comes as a celebratory event to mark the HCT's EWB 10th anniversary. "Alain Robert is a firm believer of using inner strength and determination to achieve goals in life, which is strongly reflected in the philosophy of EWB," said Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice-Chancellor of the HCT. "EWB allows students to find their inner strength and passion to voice their ideas about finding solutions to the world's most pressing issues."

The four-day conference, which kicks off on Monday, will bring nearly 4,000 students from around the globe to Dubai. They will present over 700 papers to address this year's theme of innovative solutions to global challenges.

Alongside the EWB — a student-organised and led event — will run the EWB World Forum which will bring together former heads of state such as former British prime minister Tony Blair, business executives and other influential thought leaders to discuss the impact of globalisation on education and capacity development.

The first EWB conference was launched in 2001 and was designed for students by students. Its objective is to create worldwide networks across cultures to generate solutions for global challenges in a collaborative forum that results in a commitment to action.

The feat

  • WHEN: Monday, March 28, 4pm (estimated)
  • WHERE: Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai
  • BRING: Binoculars