A couple of items about the United Arab Emirates and its efforts to build up a space program.
Speaking at a conference, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud – who became the first Arab in orbit aboard the space shuttle in 1985 – praised UAE’s efforts to train its own space scientists and engineers.
â€œI salute the efforts of a country like the UAE for its active and gradual efforts,â€ he said. â€œSaudi Arabia did not build its programme in one day, and no country can import its space programme.â€
The expansion of space projects in the Middle East was an important signal, he said.
â€œWe really have to begin thinking of ourselves in this region as contributors to the future of humanity,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, NASA was announcing a new initiative to help train UAE’s aerospace engineers:
NASA and the Arab Youth Venture Foundation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) have partnered to provide three to 12 UAE engineering students each year the opportunity to work with U.S. students, scientists, and engineers on NASA missions. The program’s goal is to engage outstanding college students from the UAE in fields of science, technology, engineering and aerospace.
“The space program has a unique ability to inspire students to pursue excellence in disciplines that drive science and technology innovation,” said Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator for education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With this Space Act Agreement, NASA will engage outstanding students in the UAE to continue their development in the critical skills of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Under this program, UAE students will join U.S. students in a research project administered by the Education Associates Program at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. UAE student involvement will provide U.S. student participants with valuable experience and knowledge about working together with representatives from other countries. The Education Associates Program anticipates its first group of Education Research Fellows in January 2010. Corporations and government entities in the UAE will sponsor the foundation’s activities in full, including costs related to student lodging, housing, and transportation.
“There is much work to be done to promote and deliver inspired science, technology, education, aerospace and math education in the Arab world that is hands-on and conducted in real world settings,” said Lisa-Renee LaBonte, chief executive officer of the Arab Youth Venture Foundation. “This groundbreaking program, administered by NASA, will provide select UAE citizens the opportunity to work with NASA scientists, researchers, and engineers on actual NASA missions.”
Founded in Ras Al Khaimah, the Arab Youth Venture Foundation is dedicated to imagining and bringing to life initiatives that nurture the innovative spirits and entrepreneurial mindsets of youth aged six to 21 across the Arab world. The foundation’s goal is to create activities that develop the next generation of scientific researchers, engineers, inventors, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs.
Since 1998, the Education Associates Program has placed more than 1,500 U.S. students from schools throughout the country in research positions working on NASA missions. Cooperation with the Arab Youth Venture Foundation will provide future U.S. participants in this NASA sponsored program at Ames with valuable cultural exposure and experience in working with their international counterparts.
This new partnership and NASA’s many other education programs play a key role in preparing, inspiring, exciting, encouraging, and nurturing students in the critical disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Read the full story about the Prince’s appearance.