First Muslim woman in space


The first Muslim woman and private female explorer in space, Dr Anousheh Ansari, was in Muscat recently to speak at the latest edition of the National Bank of Oman Chairman’s Speaker Series. Addressing an audience of public officials, business leaders, bank customers and students at Grand Hyatt Muscat, Dr Ansari shared stories about her pioneering career in both business and space exploration.

Dr Ansari is a successful serial entrepreneur and is a co-founder, chairwoman and CEO of Prodea Systems, the first company to provide seamless access to a broad range of services. In 2006, she was part of an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station, which captured headlines around the world for being the first trip into space by a Muslim woman. She along with her family also provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10mn cash award for the first non-governmental organisation to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks, a feat accomplished in 2004 by legendary aerospace designer Burt Rutan.

Mohammed Mahfoodh Al Ardhi, chairman of NBO, said: “Dr Anousheh Ansari has inspired a generation of women through her pioneering achievements in space exploration. She is also a visionary businesswoman with a track record of successful tech startups. Dr Ansari is a wonderful role model for any aspiring Omani entrepreneur and as the world’s first space ambassador, she acts as a messenger to create public awareness and stimulate grassroots enthusiasm about the virtues of space exploration. Dr Ansari wants to inspire the youth, especially girls, around the world to pursue their dreams and promote peace and understanding amongst nations and we thank her for sharing her remarkable story with our delegates in Muscat.”

The National Bank of Oman Chairman’s Speaker Series was created in 2014 as a platform to harness collective wisdom and foster creative thinking about the critical issues affecting the world through dialogue and networking. It was designed to bridge the gap between Oman’s hopeful youth and more seasoned professionals, allowing them an interactive platform to learn and share experiences, ideas and aspirations. Each quarter, one of the world’s leading influencers is invited to share their expertise, knowledge and best practice at an exclusive evening event in Oman.

Previous speakers have included HE KhaldoonKhalifa Al Mubarak, group CEO and managing director of Mubadala, and Sir Terence Clark, renowned author and former British ambassador to Oman. The fourth edition of the Chairman’s Speaker Series event will be held on the September 20, 2015.

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