Sheikh Mohammed announces Sultan AlNeyadi as Minister of Youth

The astronaut's name was repeated in several of the nominations they received for the post, the UAE VP revealed

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Karen Ann Monsy

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Published: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 1:28 PM

Last updated: Sat 6 Jan 2024, 11:00 PM

The search for the UAE's Minister of Youth has ended, it was revealed on Saturday — and it is none other than national hero and astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi.

The news came in a flurry of announcements of new ministerial appointments made by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday.

It was in September last year that the Dubai Ruler issued a call for a suitable candidate. Thousands of Emiratis responded within hours with applications for the post.

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"We want the person to be knowledgeable about the UAE, be brave and strong in representing his country, and passionate about serving the homeland," he had said at the time.

On Saturday, the UAE VP revealed that while they had received several nominations for the role, one name kept cropping up repeatedly: AlNeyadi's.

"He is one of the closest to issues related to the youth and the most keen to serve and advance them," he said, in a post that clearly reflected the nation's pride in the first Arab astronaut to undertake the longest space mission last year.

Sultan AlNeyadi will continue to carry out his scientific and space-related responsibilities, in addition to the new role, Sheikh Mohammed said.

To AlNeyadi, the Dubai Ruler shared an inspiring message: "We want our youth to have their feet rooted in their land, their history, and their culture and their heads in the sky."

It is with these youth that the UAE will be able to compete with nations, he said, adding, "We are with you in this mission."

The 42-year-old astronaut made history last year as the first Arab spacewalker as well as the first Arab to spend 186 days in space, the longest in the region's history. During this time, he conducted over 200 experiments while on the ISS that took about 585 hours.

More appointments

In addition to the Minister of Youth, Sheikh Mohammed announced four more appointments.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be Deputy Prime Minister for Financial and Economic Affairs. Mohammed bin Mubarak Fadel Al Mazrouei was appointed Minister of State for Defence Affairs as well as a member of the Council of Ministers.

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, who led the UAE's bid for COP28 and currently serves as Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, will move to her new role as Head of the Office of International Affairs for the UAE President at the end of her term.

Meanwhile, Dr Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak Al Shamsi will take over as Minister of Environment as well as join the Council of Ministers.

Wishing them all success, Sheikh Mohammed reiterated that 2024 will be the greatest in the history of the UAE yet.

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