NASA's Muslim Outreach Is Real
The White House on Monday was forced to walk back NASA administrator Charles Bolden's recent remarks to Al Jazeera that one of his top priorities was outreach to Muslim countries, but in fact, the Obama administration has been doing a lot of science and technology outreach to the Islamic world in recent months.
The White House on Monday was forced to walk back NASA administrator Charles Bolden's recent remarks to Al Jazeera that one of his top priorities was outreach to Muslim countries, but in fact, the Obama administration has been doing a lot of science and technology outreach to the Islamic world in recent months.Look no further than this Friday, for example, when the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology will hold a meeting where it will discuss "Science, Technology, and Diplomacy" with science envoys to Indonesia, Algeria, and Egypt.
According to a blog post detailing the event, the three envoys will "report on what progress has been made in strengthening collaboration with the Muslim world."
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Or look to April, when the White House held a two-day summit on entrepreneurship for a majority Muslim crowd of 250 participants from 60 countries. "The U.S. wants to deepen partnerships with Muslim communities related to education and economic opportunity, science and technology," White House deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said at the time.
Indeed, even Bolden has played a role in these efforts. For example, in June, he visited Qatar and Egypt, saying that the countries would collaborate with the United States in the future on science and technology programs, noting global education initiatives sponsored by NASA, and saying that NASA was looking to Egyptian scientists to help analyze astrophysics data.
This is all part of a larger Obama administration effort, announced last June in Cairo by the president himself, to change U.S. relations with the Muslim world through outreach and cooperation. Whether it is or should be the NASA administrator's "foremost" task, as Bolden told Al Jazeera, is another question entirely.