Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Charles Bolden, participated on Monday in the launching of the Moona science, environment and space center in Sakhnin.
Bolden spoke to the children, walked amongst them and offered advice on success: work hard, study, ask questions and don't fear failure, he said.
"A space shuttle successfully connects between 14 astronauts from around the world, no matter what culture, religion, race, gender or nationality they are," Bolden asserted.
"They all connect, which means that we can also do that on the ground, and in this way, you can act and succeed."
High school students, public officials and academics all participated in the opening ceremony. The center was opened thanks to a joint effort by the Saknin Municipality, the Galilee Development Authority, the Municipal Association for the Environment, Zionism 2000 and the Shatil organization.
In recent months the US Embassy and NASA, which saw the importance of this project, joined in as well.
The center offers Galilee residents the opportunity to learn about personal development and creating collaborations with people from various fields and backgrounds for the sake of developing educational, social and business initiatives and solving regional issues.
The participating founder, Asaf Brimer, who served as a combat pilot in the Israel Air Force told Ynet that "the idea is to take space and utilize it technologically for the economic and social development of the region.
"We have the challenge of creating a common living space, especially in the Galilee which is known as a peripheral area; suffering from ongoing economic and social laggardness and from negative immigration."
Sakhnin Mayor Mazin G'Nayem told Ynet, "It is a real honor for us that the NASA administrator is visiting in Israel and in Sakhnin. This project can contribute a lot, especially in this period when talks of weapons of mass destruction and missiles are abound. We are finally discussing clean air and, who knows, maybe Sakhnin will produce an astronaut of its own."
Dr. Hussein Tarbia, who initiated the project, said, "The idea arose a year ago, when I partook in an Israeli delegation for negotiations in South Africa. NASA officials arrived there and presented to the entire world what they can contribute environmentally via space and then I began thinking how I can integrate these things in our activities in Sakhnin and to establish a science, environment and space center.
"When I returned to Israel, I connected with other bodies that came up with similar projects, and now it has come to light," Tarbia said.