Why Hazza Al Mansouri is a hero for UAE's entrepreneurs

The first Emirati astronaut has shown the world nothing is impossible if the dreamers have determination

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 27, 2019: Live call with Hazza Al Mansouri. The Emirati astronaut will be answering some questions from space. Friday the 27th of September 2019. Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 27, 2019: Live call with Hazza Al Mansouri. The Emirati astronaut will be answering some questions from space. Friday the 27th of September 2019. Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Sometimes it seems easier to reach for the stars than to try to realise your own dreams. There is a traditional Arabic saying underpinning the same notion, which people for generations have quoted to highlight the gravity of the task facing a person. Emirati astronaut Major Hazza Al Mansouri has beaten the odds, and did what many once thought was impossible.

First light on the morning of September 26, after Maj Al Mansouri reached the International Space Station, was the dawn of a new era for every UAE national. We woke up with a renewed sense of purpose and a strong conviction that even the most impossible of dreams could come true. I woke up elated, and I knew that any doubts I may have had about achieving my goals no longer existed. If we can make it to space, no dream or star in the sky is impossible or far enough for us Emiratis.

Less than 100 years ago, most of the people in this region desired nothing more than fresh water and food. Stars were the objects of beauty to be cherished on a cold winter night and not even in their wildest dreams would they have imagined making it to the skies and floating above the Earth.

Our Founding Father Sheikh Zayed, the visionary leader that he was, had long anticipated this day. In the 1980s, he met with Nasa astronauts and shared his hopes of the UAE becoming a key participant in space exploration. In less than 50 years since the union of our emirates, we are already a nation exploring space, and have our eyes set on the far reaches of our planetary system and beyond.

When people ask what inspires and drives me to excel and expand my business, I proudly say, it is the UAE. This country and its leadership has taught us to follow our dream no matter what it takes – to pursue our goals with the confidence that our country is always behind us, cheering us on.

When the rocket carrying Maj Al Mansouri launched, it was not just him on-board the spacecraft, it was an entire nation. The UAE’s dream and its people are now on the ISS. Maj Al Mansouri may be the first Emirati in space, but he has inspired a whole generation of people who will soon be walking in his footsteps. Little girls and boys across the UAE now know that they too can be astronauts or make a difference in space research and exploration.

The UAE launched the National Space Programme in 2017, and less than three years later the results are there for the whole world to see and praise. We’ve achieved in less than three years what many would take decades to accomplish.

The same is true for entrepreneurs. It would take some of them more than three years just to finalise their business plans and many more to put these plans into action.

The lesson we take from all of this as entrepreneurs is that while passion is the foundation stone of a plan, it is determination that makes all the difference. The determination and hunger to see your ideas become a reality is what differentiates successful entrepreneurs from those who are dreamers.

It is strong determination that drives the UAE. It is the determination of our leadership that has made the UAE a global leader on so many fronts, and turned the country into a dream destination for many to work and reside in.

I’ll tell you what I have learnt from the milestone Maj Al Mansouri has achieved for this nation. I am more confident, knowing that three years is a long time, and I could achieve a lot in this period if I am determined and I plan properly. I now realise that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. I am confident we have the endless potential to inspire others and with determination we will not only open doors for ourselves, but for many others, making a positive impact on their lives as well.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi

Published: September 29, 2019 07:30 AM

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