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Arab Space Agencies gather at Global Space Congress

Posted 30 January 2017 · Add Comment

The Arab space sector will gather under one roof to discuss ways of strengthening joint cooperation between Arab states in the space sector at the Global Space Congress. The international event is set to be held in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The Congress runs January 31 to February 1 at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, bringing together more than 600 experts and specialists from around the world. Among them are heads of space agencies, executives from leading space and aviation companies, government ministers and prominent academics and researchers.

Representatives from Arab space agencies and organizations involved in the space sector participated in a special panel discussion on the second day of the event, during which they will discuss the importance of the space sector for Arab states on a number of levels. Participants will present the infrastructural elements available to the region, and explore ways to promote the region as a center for space projects.

Delegates will discuss the benefits of space activities, and their contributions to the development of science, technology and research throughout the Arab world. Other benefits to be explored include economic growth and diversification, encouraging advanced scientific research among students and graduates, and forming long-term global partnerships.

Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, is to lead the session, which includes a number of esteemed speakers. Among them are Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Al Amer, President of the Central Informatics Organization in Bahrain; Dr. Ezzedine Oussedik, Director General of the Algerian Space Agency; Mahmoud Hussein, Vice President of Egypt’s National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences; and Eng. Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant General Manager of Scientific and Technical Affairs at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center.

Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “This session falls under the UAE space sector’s strategic goals, which focus on building and strengthening international relationships and partnerships in the field, including developing bilateral relations with Arab states. This was the impetus behind us organizing of the meeting, which will review Arab capabilities in the field and develop a framework for maximizing our mutually beneficial results.”

Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi said: “Throughout the past, Arabs have made significant contributions to astronomy that have helped mankind develop space sciences. We believe it is necessary to revive this great legacy by unifying Arab efforts through developing collaborative space projects with the aim of improving current capabilities and contributing significant scientific research to the space community.”

Dr Mohammed Ahmed Al Amer, President of the Central Informatics Organization in the Kingdom of Bahrain, thanked the United Arab Emirates for organising this important congress and the Arab discussion session that will gather him with his counterparts from other Arab countries. He noted that this is the first such regional gathering of its kind to coordinate efforts and search for means of cooperation with one another in order to enhance capacities and realize our leaderships’ visions. Dr Al Amer also said that the Arab space session ultimately served the people of the region and meets their aspirations.

Dr. Ezzedine Oussedik, Director General of the Algerian Space Agency, said: “The Global Space Congress represents an opportunity to share and exchange information surrounding the strategies and policies currently being implemented by Arab parties in the field of applied space technologies. It will also contribute to promoting and strengthening sustainable cooperation in development and economics throughout the Arab nation.”

Mahmoud Hussein, Vice President of the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, noted that Egypt is currently developing its space capabilities, including infrastructural elements at assembly centers, testing and launching spacecraft, and attracting investments and participation to regional and African projects.

He continued: “Egypt is seeking to build a generation of young engineers, because human elements are of the utmost importance in building our own capacities for this strategic sector. In this context, Egypt recognizes the importance of regional Arab cooperation in order to integrate capabilities and resources and to exchange knowledge and experiences.”

Salem Humaid Al Marri, Assistant General Manager of Scientific and Technical Affairs at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, spoke of the UAE’s achievements in space sciences and activities over the past 11 years. Al Marri said: “What the UAE has achieved so far reflects its forward-looking aspirations and vision in scientific development, as well as instilling a culture of scientific research. In addition, it is a reflection of an economy strengthened by sustainable diversification based on innovation and knowledge.”

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