Emirati engineer to represent UAE at ‘Man of the Universe’ - GulfToday

Emirati engineer to represent UAE at ‘Man of the Universe’


The 11 contestants for the Man of the Universe 2021 in Dubai.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

An Emirati engineer in the oil and gas sector in Abu Dhabi is the representative of the country for the second edition of the “Man of the Universe” to be held Friday evening in Dubai.

Thirty-year-old Nasser Hassan, also a commercial/fashion model since 2006 and 10 other contenders to the international competition, delayed for a year because of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, were introduced at a press conference on Sunday evening on board a dhow cruise in Bur Dubai.

The 10, along with Hassan and Man of the Universe 2019 Pedro Salinas of Spain, denounced hatred and called for greater unity and understanding instead. They are Redian Estima, 22, Albania; Akram Bouzaher, 22, Algeria; Islam Ismail, 31, Egypt; Shivam Ravnit, 24, India; Michel Adib Haddad, 30, Lebanon; Ian Rowe Giron, 30, Philippines; Milan Petrovic, 29, Serbia; Asier Garcia, 26, Spain; Pannawit Nakkol, 26, Thailand; and Ahmed Yousif El Sharif, 25, USA.

Representatives from South Africa, Guinea and Nepal are unable to join due to travel restrictions.

The competitions debuted in Cebu Province in Central Philippines in 2019. It is a brainchild of UAE-based Filipino Gilbert Espiritu, Orient Insurance-Human Resources head, also behind the “Man of the Philippines-United Arab Emirates 2018” and “Man of the Philippines-United Arab Emirates 2021.”

“More than ever, this year is the best to come together and show that life needs to move on and as nations, we have to unite and fight the pandemic war. We also need a breather from all things happening around us so we decided to do the competitions in Dubai instead of in the Philippines; to bring normalcy to life. We have these competitions as a platform for unity in diversity. That no matter how diverse we are, mankind could be united (advocating) brotherhood,” Espiritu said from the sidelines.

It was learnt that some won in the “Man of the Universe” in their respective countries like Thailand’s Nakkol. India’s Ravnit, a fourth year medical student at the Perpetual Help College in Las Pinas City, Metro Manila, Philippines sought permission from his father to join the national competitions in his home country.  Others like Haddad was hand-picked by the national director of the “Man of the Universe” franchise in Lebanon. Hassan was among the commercial/fashion models referred to by agencies in the UAE. 

Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, unconfirmed reports floated that over 14,000 women from across the country had registered for the first-ever “Miss Universe-United Arab Emirates” scheduled evening of Nov. 7 at the La Pearl in Al Habtoor City in Dubai.

From the press conference and in question raised by Gulf Today, Hassan from Ras Al Khaimah and who “works one month on-shore and the next off-shore,” said he looks at the entry of the two pageants in the UAE as a fact of life and nothing to get anxious off. He pointed out the country’s tolerance, adding: “As long as these (and other activities) are done well.”

On the question of their support system for the competitions, Hassan said his family, especially his mother, is fully supportive of his decision. Albania’s Estima is in the same situation describing his family as “open to the competitions, accepting of my decision and I am single.” Egypt’s Ismail was thankful that his employer allowed him to go on leave. Thailand’s Nakkol quipped with a smile: “When I told my mom that I would be joining the competitions, she said: Go, go go!”

Algeria’s Bouzaher who speaks English, French, Arabic, Turkish and Italian said joining the competitions is one way of promoting his country and culture to others. Some mis-hear and misconstrue his country as Nigeria: “I really like to meet people. There is too much hatred in this world now. We should stop that.”

The other contestants aired the same sentiment with “Man of the Universe 2019” Salinas also saying that in the course of his reign from 2019 through pandemic 2020, many had realized that evil would lead nowhere. 

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