UAE’s Mars project director among top 50 future leaders in global list

Omran Sharaf makes it to Project Management Institute's league of 'new generation of leaders'

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The man who led the UAE’s mission to Mars has been named among the world’s top 50 future leaders by the Project Management Institute, a global non-profit professionals association.

Omran Sharaf, 37, project director of the Emirates Mars Mission, has been leading a team of engineers and scientists since 2014 to make the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission a success.

The spacecraft, called Hope, reached the Martian orbit on February 9 of this year, and has been sending back images and science data on the planet's atmosphere.

Mr Sharaf has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Virginia and a post-graduate degree in science and technology policy from South Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

He started working with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in 2006, when it was called the Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

Sarah Al Amiri, the Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairperson of the UAE Space Agency, congratulated her colleague on being named in the 2021 global achievers' list.

“Congratulations, Omran Sharaf, on being selected as one of PMInstitute 2021 Future 50,” she tweeted.

Some of the other professionals in the list include those who work in companies such as Amazon, TikTok, Emaar and Dell.

"With a deep sense of social responsibility, this next generation of leaders are deeply committed to protecting the natural environment, driving diversity and fostering environments of inclusion, and making the world a better place,” Michael DePrisco, chief operating officer of Project Management Institute, said.

"In an exceptionally challenging year, this new generation of leaders have stepped to drive innovation around the globe.”

The complete list is available online.

Images taken by the UAE's Hope probe - in pictures

Updated: August 31, 2021, 11:31 AM