With high-level participation of international officials, scientists and experts in the field of space science and its applications, taking part in the 36th Session of the International Space Symposium, being held in Colorado, the United States of America, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and Space Foundation in the United States of America, signed a partnership agreement to build strong cooperation in raising awareness of the importance of space sciences by integrating them into the educational programs and providing opportunities for researchers and scientists to exchange ideas, experiences, and innovation in the field of space sciences.
During the ceremony, organized on Wednesday (25 August 2021) via videoconference, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), and Mr. Thomas Zelibor, CEO of Space Foundation, signed the agreement, the provisions of which all speakers during the signing ceremony highly welcomed and commended, most notably Ms. Shelley Brunswick, COO of Space Foundation, Ms. Kathryn C. Thornton, Chairwoman of Space Foundation, former NASA astronaut, Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in addition to Ms. Pascale Ehrenfreund, President of the International Astronautical Federation.
In his address, Mr. Thomas Zelibor expressed his happiness at signing the agreement, stressing that it will contribute to building the next generation’s capabilities in the field of space science, improving living conditions, and encouraging innovation, noting the importance of joint action with ICESCO to contribute to the development of science and to benefit from its applications and potentials to achieve the desired development.
In his address, Dr. AlMalik stressed the importance of space science and its applications in finding solutions to current and future challenges. “Space science contributes to socio-economic and environmental development. Investment in space science has become an imperative,” he added.
Dr. AlMalik stated that the agreement aims to keep pace with ICESCO’s new vision for the transfer and localization of knowledge to the Member States to benefit from the experiences of developed countries and international institutions in supporting space sciences and innovation. He also pointed out that the agreement is the beginning of a long-term international cooperation based on practical and goal-oriented programs with measurable results.
The ceremony brought together several ICESCO officials, in addition to Mr. Kevin O’Connell, Founder and CEO of Space Economy Rising, Mr. Mark Cirangelo, a researcher at the University of Colorado, USA, as well as Mr. Frank Culbertson, member of the Board of the American Space Foundation, former NASA astronaut.
The agreement between ICESCO and Space Foundation is part of the efforts to develop cooperation between the two parties, which started last June with co-organizing the First International Symposium on “Space Sciences: Importance, Challenges and Emerging Opportunities in the Space Industry and Islamic World,” under the theme “Building Future Innovators” which saw important discussions of innovative ideas and answers to vital questions, challenges and opportunities for benefiting from space science and developing applications and related industries.
The agreement will open new prospects for cooperation between ICESCO Member States and developed countries in the field of space science and its technological applications and uses in various fields. It will also provide opportunities for young people in the Islamic world to study space sciences in the biggest international specialized institutions.