The Ismaili Centre in Dubai, in collaboration with the Belgium embassy in Abu Dhabi and VITO, a European research organisation, hosted a talk last week led by Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne, who is head of the European Astronaut Centre.
The talk, entitled “The New Space Economy in Europe — A Focus on Earth Observation and Exploration”, discussed the future of space technology and the frontiers that space travel will open up for humankind.
As stated by the Aga Khan in 2003, during the centre’s foundation stone-laying ceremony, a key mandate of the Ismaili Centre is to “be a place for contemplation and search for enlightenment, where people come together to share knowledge and wisdom.”
The diverse group of guests included Dr Rashid Aleem, chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority; Dr Walter Buydens of VITO; diplomats and Belgian community members.
Aziz Merchant, vice-president of the Ismaili Centre in the UAE, said: “It is our pleasure to host and partner with the Embassy of Belgium and VITO at the Ismaili Centre. Not only is it a great honour for us to share the platform with Frank De Winne, the first Belgian astronaut, but also the choice of Ismaili Centre could not have been more appropriate, as Islamic achievements in scientific inquiry encompass a wide range of subject areas, especially mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physics, alchemy and chemistry.”
Dominique Mineur, ambassador of Belgium to the UAE, said: “I hope that this conference will generate future ideas and avenues for cooperation. It is only by combining our strengths, experiences and desire to progress that we will be able to offer a better world to the future generations.”