NASA chief Charlie Bolden said it: “Perhaps foremost, [Obama] wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.” The White House later denied this, but this news item confirms Bolden’s contention that Obama told him to make outreach to Muslims his priority at NASA.
“Emirati trio boldly go into Nasa as a world first,” by Kareem Shaheen for The National, July 26 (thanks to Pamela Liner):
Three Emiratis who are the first non-US citizens to train at the Nasa space agency said the intensive programme could be vitally important for the future scientific development of the UAE.
“This is a one-of-a kind. It’s a first step into something bigger,” said Hazza Bani Malek, 20, speaking from the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California.
Mr Bani Malek was selected along with his colleagues Hamad Rajab and Shamma al Qassim by the Arab Youth Venture Foundation, an organisation in RAK, to take part in the Educational Associates programme, which was previously reserved for US citizens.
The programme is sponsored by Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi Government’s strategic investment company. Nine more Emirati students are slated for training at Nasa this autumn.
Mr Rajab, 21, is an electrical engineering student at UAE University who is specialising in research into water-recycling systems that will be used in new Nasa spacecraft during the six week internship.
He said he believes his project could have a direct impact on water-recycling technology in the UAE.
“The UAE suffers a lack of water resources,” he said.
“Getting this technology back in our country will really contribute in saving the amount of money that is used.”…
That’s good. Saving the UAE money ought to be NASA’s highest priority.
All three interns said their participation was particularly significant in view of the US President, Barrack Obama’s recent advocation of increased collaboration with the Arab world in the realms of science and technology.
Mr Rajab said he would use the knowledge he has accrued on the programme to benefit his home country.
“I want to develop my country. I want to be a decision maker. I would like to work in the Government or the private groups, he said. “I will definitely go back to the UAE and try to return some of the favours it did for me. I just want to utilize my knowledge and expertise.”…
Great. What is the U.S. getting out of this?