Mr Luay Bassiouni, the Palestinian electronics engineer who is the first member of the NASA helicopter industry team, was hosted by Pal-Think for Strategic Studies to talk about his success in launching the first historic breakthrough by launching the first INGENUITY helicopter flight over Mars.
At the ZOOM seminar organized by PalThink for Strategic Studies, Mr Bassiouni reviewed the challenges he faced during his career, as well as future aspirations and the possibility of developing research facilities in Palestine, in the midst of a large participation of Palestinian, Arab and foreign participants in the seminar.
The participants praised the efforts of both the PalThink and Mr Bassiouni to bring hope to Palestinian youth, who are suffering from great frustration in political, economic and social conditions.
Then, Mr Omar Shaban, PalThink’s manager, clarified that this special scientific encounter is in the context of the principles and objectives from which PalThink was launched; as a Palestinian think tank, trying to keep pace with developments in the areas of politics, economics, sociology and culture. It is worth noting that PalThink is a Palestinian – independent and non-profit think tank – engaged in research at the national and regional levels.
After that, Mr Bassiouni pointed out, in his intervention, that he first came from Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, learned at the schools of the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), received a partial scholarship to study at a Pennsylvania university in 1998, and moved to Kentucky, where he studied electrical engineering.
Mr Bassiouni completed his basic undergraduate studies in 2002, obtained his bachelor’s degree in engineering, then matriculated in graduate studies and obtained a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville in 2004.
Mr Bassiouni stated that he had many difficulties in leaving the Gaza Strip and even when he came to the United States, noting that the experience of travelling, being alone and self-reliance had been very beneficial to him both personally and in practice.
Mr Luay also noted that he had not seen discrimination in the system within the United States of America, or within its governmental or private institutions, but that there had been discrimination by certain groups in American society; for being an Arab.
Mr Bassiouni reviewed many of the challenges he faced, including the difficulty of visiting Gaza, owing to travel restrictions to and from the Strip, as Israel was impeding movement from the Gaza Strip to the outside world and vice versa.
In Bassiouni’s view, his success in reaching that degree of excellence sends a clear message to the world that the Palestinian can think and create in many areas.
Mr Bassiouni further stated that his work in astronomy and space would not stop there, as he was setting up his own company, which could contract with NASA to continue to achieve further successes.
Mr Bassiouni advises young people to prioritize their goals, to set a clear agenda for their future, to read more often, and to choose their major according to their passion and not only in accordance with market requirements. He also advises educational academies in Palestine and the Arab world to align theory and practice. Noting that the great problem of education within Palestine or the Arab world is that there is a huge gap in theory and practice.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Bassiouni indicated his full willingness to assist Arab and Palestinian academics in developing the necessary perceptions and sharing experiences to make progress in the areas of space engineering.