UAE a lodestar of Arab creative energy - GulfToday

UAE a lodestar of Arab creative energy

Sultan Al Neyadi

Sultan Al Neyadi’s spacewalk on Friday marked another milestone for the Emirati space programme. Sultan along with fellow International Space Station (ISS) astronaut from NASA, Stephen Bowen, carried out maintenance work of the ISS, which remains a challenge even after more than half a century of the international space programme.

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed praised Al Neyadi’s breakthrough along with the Martian probe Hope and the lunar rover Rashid as marking progress of the UAE’s space programme. He said, “With this week’s new discoveries by the Hope probe, the achievements of the Rashid rover mission and Sultan Al Neyadi’s first ever spacewalk by an Arab astronaut, the UAE continues to make a meaningful contribution to space exploration and advancements in science.”

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, expressed his pride in Sultan Al Neyadi’s feat: “The first Emirati, the first Arab, the first Muslim, to walk in outer space. Proud of that.” His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said, “The UAE’s space programme has achieved a new historic milestone with Sultan Al Neyadi becoming the first Arab to perform a spacewalk.” 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid emphasised the fact that Arabs are capable of discovering new frontiers. He said. “They say that two- thirds of the stars in the sky bear Arabic names. Arabs are capable, Arabs are coming, Arabs are creative if we decide to focus on science and invest in youth and stay away from differences.” 

This is indeed a timely reminder when politically many of the Arab-speaking countries are caught up in political strife and economic crisis, and thousands of people are fleeing their homes, whether it is in Sudan or Syria. The energies of the Arab countries can be put to creative, futuristic use.

And the Arabs proved their calibre in history during the golden classical period of the Abbasid Caliphate. There is a hidden creative energy waiting to burst forth among the Arabs. The UAE is setting a good example of how this can be achieved by focusing on science and knowledge.

It is one of the few countries in the world that is making a deliberate attempt to use its economic and human resources towards a progressive future. And the UAE’s emphasis has remained knowledge. The UAE invests in libraries and museums as part of increasing knowledge of the world for its citizens and all those expatriates living in the country. The UAE has become the metropolitan hub of knowledge, and it has done so quietly in the last two decades of the new century.

The UAE has been in many ways a new entrant to the space programme, whether in the matter of space exploration or of sending astronauts into space, and it is taking its pride of place with other countries of the world.

This proves two things. That if you have a visionary leadership, then the country will take the right steps towards the future, and that it will soon be in the forefront as well. It shows that you do not have to be in the race of catching up with others because you entered the race late. You move into the front position because it is a matter of talent and dedication. The lunar and Martian probes are important steps in space exploration.

It is also recognised that space exploration and space travel are not a mere indulgence for those who have the money to invest in science. It shows that this has its practical implications, and the UAE’s space programme is geared towards tackling questions of climate change, and also to improve agriculture in the country.

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