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Historic Emirati space ambassadors attend UAE premiere of ‘The Martian’ movie during World Space Week.

martian-gallery3-gallery-imageOct. 7th, 2015, Dubai, UAE:  Twentieth Century Fox’s latest blockbuster, The Martian, starring Matt Damon premiere Wednesday, Oct. 7th in Dubai and like elsewhere the film has been debuted worldwide in conjunction with U.N. declared World Space Week (WSW), the world’s largest annual celebration of space, science, and technology and their contribution to the betterment of humanity. WSW events run in over 80 nations under the 2015 theme: “Discovery”.

Tying in ‘The Martian’, World Space Week, UAE space ambassador Shamma Alqassim of the NASA Research Fellows Alumni Org and renowned Emirati remote sensing expert Meshgan Al Awar, the premiere provides a perfect blend of space buzz to augment WSW festivities that kicked off across the globe on Oct. 4th and further highlights UAE’s efforts in their goals to explore space.

Marking the mid-way point of the annual festival, WSW National Coordinator and AYVF founder, Lisa LaBonté stated, “Space activities of all kinds are inspired STEM in action and through our efforts we empower UAE talent to serve as role models to young aspirers across the region. We trust the film’s main character, Astronaut and scientist Mark Watney, will also serve this purpose and capture the imagination of UAE citizens toward space exploration. Special thanks to our WSW event partner, Empire International, for providing movie passes to winning Emirati youth.

Elie Touma, Empire International’ Publicity Manager added, “As the UAE distributor for major movie studios globally, we continually seek to tie-in themes and relevant story lines for citizens and residents in the marketplace. We are excited at the timeliness of The Martian as if follows the UAE’s Mars Mission announcement and adds to the excitement and possibilities for the future.”

A multitude of fun, engaging events coordinated by dozens of independent entities and space enthusiasts, WSW has garnering support and participation from the UAE Space Agency, Emirates Amateur Radio Society (EARS), and the Dubai Astronomy Club most visibly. 2015 marks the 6th year of WSW events across the nation, lead and sponsored by the Arab Youth Venture Foundation (AYVF).

For general information and a list of UAE and MENA based events, or to add your own, visit


 About “The Martian”

A motion picture based on the novel by Andy Weir and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Synopsis: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and is subsequently left behind by his crew as they return to Earth 140 million miles away. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit, spirit – and science training -to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive –while subsisting four year until help is able to arrive.

About World Space Week

world-space-week_100213_100213World Space Week is an international celebration of space. Created in 1999 by the U.N. General Assembly to mark the signing of the Outer Space Treaty which occurred Oct. 10, 1967 and Russia’s historic and successful mission into space with Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957 which lead the way for space exploration. World Space Week’s theme for 2015 is “Discovery”. World Space Week is supported by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

About the UAE NASA Research Fellows Alumni Org

UAE NRFAO leverages key experiences of Emirati NASA interns by utilizing insights and expertise to inspire the younger generation toward study STEM – specifically toward the attainment of careers in UAEs burgeoning key sectors.

Achieved through on-going public outreach efforts and inclusion of school-aged youth in NASA related projects and contests as they unfold in-country, the UAE’s first space ambassadors are the role models for the next generation. Alumni share their dynamism and lessons learned with a variety of business professionals, government officials, and academia in UAE and beyond.

About the Arab Youth Venture Foundation (AYVF)

AYVF is MENA’s idea and innovation lab bringing to life initiatives that nurture the innovative spirits and critical thinking skills of local youth. AYVF’s pioneering programs empower the next generation of scientific researchers, engineers, inventors, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs in the region while fueling a pipeline of talent that support GCC governments’ economic diversification goals.

AYVF began in 2007 by delivering dynamic weekend science festivals in leading UAE Malls with free activities focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, aerospace, math), art and literacy for the 6-12 segment and has since directly engaged over 183,000 kids across 94 nationalities. In 2010 AYVF became the national coordinator for World Space Week for GCC nations.

AYVF is best known for its groundbreaking educational alliance with NASA, the “NASA AYVF Innovative Partnership” and its historic UAE NASA internship program and in 2012 spun-off its first company, Space Ed-Ventures, focused on space camps and space training for the junior and high school demographic.

About Empire International

Established and headquartered in Beirut since 1919, Empire International is a leading distributor and exhibitor in the Middle East. The company sub-distributes for Twentieh Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Dreamworks Animation across the Arab world.



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