The fourth edition of the highly anticipated A Call from Space event, hosted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, unfolded at the Great Hall in the United Arab Emirates University, nestled in the heart of Al Ain.
Lieutenant General His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, graced the occasion with his presence, where he received a comprehensive briefing on the mission, gaining insight into the remarkable milestones achieved during Sultan Al Neyadi's tenure aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The event was also attended by key officials, including His Excellency Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to His Highness the President of the UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, His Excellency Yousuf Hamad AlShaibani, Vice Chairman MBRSC, His Excellency Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General MBRSC and His Excellency Prof. Ghaleb Ali AlHadrami AlBreiki, Acting Vice Chancellor United Arab Emirates University.
In his speech at the event, His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed emphasised the indispensable role of UAE's leadership in enabling the nation's extraordinary achievements. He expressed sincere gratitude and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, for his invaluable guidance. He further added by acknowledging the contributions of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, for his significant role in enabling these accomplishments. Additionally, he extended his thanks to His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Vice President, and His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, for their unwavering support and dedication in providing every opportunity for the nation to achieve such impressive milestones, which demonstrate the global achievements of the emirates and the capabilities of its youth.
For his part, Sultan Al Neyadi welcomed His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, saying: " We deeply appreciate the gift of your presence with us today, and we express our profound gratitude for your unwavering support." Al Neyadi also expressed his joy at being able to connect with the people of his city, Al Ain. He further stated: "It is an honour to connect with each and every one of you here at the esteemed United Arab Emirates University, nestled in the heart of Al Ain. I eagerly anticipate your inquiries and look forward to helping you understand more about my mission and the extraordinary journey aboard the International Space Station."
The event also witnessed an impressive turnout of over 2,200 individuals eagerly assembled for the event, all anticipating to have a conversation with Emirati astronaut, Sultan Al Neyadi. Through an interactive live discussion, Sultan seized the opportunity to reconnect with his treasured hometown, Al Ain, and elaborated on his unique experiences onboard International Space Station, creating an unforgettable and inspiring experience.
His Excellency Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Chairman, MBRSC, said: “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his unwavering support and gracious presence. Further added by the remarkable enthusiasm displayed by students and guests today, the event was a testament to the limitless curiosity that will propel the next generation towards the frontiers of space and scientific discovery. As we gathered here in Sultan's hometown, we not only celebrated an extraordinary achievement but also ignited a spark of inspiration that will lead us to greater exploration and understanding. Under the direction and encouragement of the wise leadership, these events are meticulously planned across all Emirates to unify the students in the UAE with the centre's central goal: to cultivate a new generation of pioneering scientists who are equipped and inspired to make significant contributions to the UAE's thriving space sector.”
His Excellency Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director General, MBRSC, said: "We appreciate His Highness Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan for honouring us with his invaluable support and presence, alongside the esteemed collaboration of United Arab Emirates University. We also extend our heartfelt appreciation to the 2,200 guests and students who joined us at this momentous event. These live calls from the International Space Station to Earth are not just channels of communication, but lifelines that resonate with the purpose of Sultan’s mission and MBRSC. The scientific endeavours driving these missions, though complex, have a profound yet straightforward objective: to enrich our existence and guide humanity towards a greater comprehension of the universe. Through 'A Call from Space', we bridge the gap of space and serve as a constant reminder to Sultan of his goals and objectives in space."
The 1-hour event kicked off with an immersive presentation, followed by the highlight of the event, which was a 20-minute one-on-one discussion between Sultan Al Neyadi and the keen attendees, fostering meaningful interactions and exchanges.
His Excellency Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor to His Highness the President of the UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, said: "The United Arab Emirates University hosting a special meeting with Emirati astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi was a historical event that strengthened our scientific and educational prominence. It offered students a rare chance to fuel their scientific curiosity and be inspired by boundless ambitions in space, science, and technology. This endeavour aligns with the UAE's vision for global leadership and receives unwavering support and guidance from our wise leadership. Together, we shape a sustainable future for our students, empowering them to excel in the fourth industrial and digital revolutions while unravelling the mysteries of space. They are the creative and innovative force propelling the enduring success of the emirates.”
For his part, His Excellency Prof. Ghaleb Ali AlHadrami AlBreiki, Acting Vice Chancellor United Arab Emirates University, said: "UAEU is proud of this historic event, which marks a significant milestone in the university's academic education. The students had the invaluable opportunity to meet astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, and the university has emerged as a future leader in specialised academic education. We provide programs and majors that align with the aspirations of individuals seeking to broaden their horizons and provide the best educational outcomes that keep pace with civilisation's rapid development. These endeavours are carried out under the guidance and supervision of our wise leadership."
This event is part of the UAE Astronaut Programme, one of the projects managed by MBRSC under the UAE’s National Space Programme that is funded by the ICT Fund of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), which aims to support research and development in the ICT sector in the UAE and promote the country’s integration on the global stage.