Mingma Norbu Sherpa Memorial Scholarships

Inspired by the memory of former WWF Director Mingma Norbu Sherpa, WWF has established a Memorial Scholarship Fund that provides financial assistance to students from remote regions of Nepal who intend to pursue careers in nature conservation.

WWF's Mingma Norbu Sherpa Memorial Scholarships support Nepalese students who are committed to the future of environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management in Nepal.

How the scholarships work

The Scholarships are a partnership between WWF, Lincoln University and the Greater Himalayan Foundation.

Tuition fees for two students per year are generously donated by New Zealand's Lincoln University.

The Greater Himalayan Foundation recruits students in Nepal, and provides airfares and insurance. Calls for applicants are generally mid year via their website.

WWF provides living allowances of $15,000 a year for Mingma students while they are in New Zealand. These funds come from WWF-New Zealand, WWF-US (The Russell E Train Education For Nature Program) and the New Zealand Mountain Community.

About Mingma Sherpa

Born in 1955 in Khunde, Nepal, Mingma was one of the first students to graduate from the Hillary Khumjung School.

Mingma went on to receive a diploma in Parks and Recreation from Lincoln College, University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 1980 and a Masters degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba in 1985. 

Mingma was the first Sherpa to serve as Warden of Sagarmatha (Everest) after Sir Edmund Hillary helped establish the park in 1976. He worked for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) before joining WWF as director of the WWF’s Himalayan programme. In 1998 Mingma moved to WWF-US to become Director for WWF’s Nepal and Bhutan programmes. 

Mingma was a Fulbright Scholar in 1987, a recipient of the Gorkha Dhaksin Bhahu medal from His Majesty the King of Nepal, and received the Order of the Golden Ark Award from His Royal Highness Prince Bernard of the Netherlands.

Mingma's ability to achieve remarkable results was his consistent return to the values and philosophies of Sir Edmund Hillary. He adopted and applied Hillary's approach throughout the Eastern Himalayas. Ed Hillary and Mingma shared the same belief that without the support of the local people, the natural heritage of the Himalayas cannot be protected.

Mingma died tragically in a helicopter accident in Nepal in 2006, together with six other WWF staff, and seventeen others from Nepal, the US, the UK and Canada. To honour his life-long commitment to help Nepal’s rural poor to improve their livelihoods while living in harmony with nature, WWF has established a fund to support students from remote regions of Nepal to study at Lincoln University, New Zealand, Mingma’s alma mater, to help build a new generation of conservation leaders for Nepal.

Mingma Norbu Sherpa
© WWF-Nepal

Mingma Norbu Sherpa