About Shannon Galpin

National Geographic Adventurer, Shannon Galpin is best known for founding the non profit Mountain2Mountain in November 2006. 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 developed events that involved communities and provoked discussion through art, music, and sport. Supporting grafitti art projects, women’s cycling, and creating the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition, Shannon has focused on projects that empower voice in conflict zones and inspire others to combat apathy.

After four years working in various parts of Afghanistan on a variety of projects, it was in the Kandahar prison where Shannon was confronted with the power of voice. Frustrated by the lack of tangible help she would be able to provide, she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of stories from the women. They were desperate to be heard, to know that their injustice, their struggle, their heartbreak would survive outside of those walls. This experience led to the creation of Combat Apathy, Strength in Numbers, and the upcoming exhibition Cross the Line.

An avid mountain biker continually focused on breaking gender barriers, in 2009 she became the first person 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. Along the way, she always has a silver barette 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 contributes to the Huffington Post and Matador Network. Shannon and her work has been featured on Dateline NBC, New York Times,  NBC Nightly News, ESPN, National Geographic Adventure, and in Outside Magazine. Her first TEDx talk was in 2012 on the Power of Voice which best illustrates the thread that links all of her work together. She is a subject of the award winning documentary film series, MoveShake.

Shannon’s memoir, Mountain to Mountain: A Journey of Adventure and Activism for the Women of Afghanistan comes out with St. Martin’s Press September 16, 2014.  She is also the producer for the upcoming documentary with Let Media about the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team, Afghan Cycles, which will premier in 2015.