H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi
Director General , UAE Space Agency - UAE
H.E. Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi is one of the most qualified national leaders within the UAE space sector. He is known for his visionary leadership, management and strategic planning skills. Dr. Al Ahbabi is an expert within the fields of space, information systems and defence strategy.
Dr. Al Ahbabi was appointed Director General of the UAE Space Agency after leading the creation of the Agency, which was established by federal decree in 2014. As the first national space agency in the Middle East and North Africa region, this was a significant undertaking that involved overseeing strategic planning, policy formation, and stakeholder relations, in addition to many other high-level activities.
Dr. Al Ahbabi has tremendous experience in civil and military work and academia. He became a telecommunications officer for the UAE Armed Forces until he reached the rank of Major. During this period he also worked as a coordinator for Dubai Internet City until 2000, taught part-time at Abu Dhabi University between 2005 and 2007, and served as a telecommunications officer and a project manager for Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) military division from 2005 to 2012. He helped establish strategic projects including the Innovation and Development Centre of Excellence for the UAE Armed Forces which allowed him to work closely with industry partners and stakeholders.
Dr. Al Ahbabi has also contributed and led numerous strategic projects in the ICT domain for the UAE government. He has led a UAE Armed Forces Think Tank Project within the Centre of Excellence. His role included advising the military and government at a strategic level on emerging concepts and technologies in the area of smart defence, cyber warfare and space developments.
Dr. Al Ahbabi is a Board Member of Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), the UAE ICT Fund, and United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). He is the Head of the Space Research Center at UAEU and plays an active role in UN Space working groups and ICT professional associations.
Dr Al Ahbabi is also a key speaker in a number of international conferences in the area of Space Exploration, Space Science and Research, Smart Defense, Mil-Space, Cybersecurity, and Smart Government.
He completed a degree in electronic engineering from the University of California in 1998, in addition to many specialized military and government courses. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Al Ahbabi obtained a master’s degree and a PhD in communications from the University of Southampton in 2001 and 2005 respectively. During his time at the University of Southampton, Dr. Al Ahbabi published more than 22 scientific papers, and since then has won a series of honours and awards over the years.
In his role as the Director General of the UAE Space Agency, he leads a team of 50 that manages the UAE’s space sector. He is responsible for realizing the agency’s goals of growing and supporting the entire sector. He recommends the National Space Strategy and related laws, policies, and regulations to the government. He promotes and supports Industrial and R&D space projects. Dr. Al Ahbabi is also responsible for establishing and maintaining international relationships and partnerships, coordinating with concerned authorities within the UAE and providing guidance to non-government space sector organizations.