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Westminster graduate Hussain Manawer to become first British Muslim to go to space joining three Hollywood stars

Architecture and Interiors; Planning, Housing and Urban Design; Property and Construction 2 December 2015

24-year-old Hussain Manawer, who graduated in Quantity Surveying BSc Honours from the University of Westminster in 2012, will make history as the first British Muslim to go into space after winning the Kruger Cowne Rising Star Programme. According to The Times, Hussain will be joined by Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio on the space trip.

Olympic torchbearer and YouTube star Hussain blew judges away at the One Young World Summit 2015 in Bangkok with his powerful spoken word keynote speech, raising awareness for mental health. He received a standing ovation from over 1,300 young delegates from 196 countries at the summit.

Speaking after winning the trip to space, the Westminster graduate said: “This spaceship, I want to dedicate this to every single person who has suffered from mental health, every young boy, girl, man, woman who sits in their bedroom crying and you don’t know why, everyone who avoids mirrors because you don’t like what you look like. I want to tell you, if you are suffering from mental health it is absolutely fine. Welcome to the club, there are seven billion of us.”

The Rising Star award was presented to Hussain by NASA astronaut Ron Garan.

Hussain will make his journey to the area between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space in 2018. After finding out that he will be accompanied by Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, the former Westminster student commented on his Facebook page:

“So according to The Times newspaper [sic] looks like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are going to be sitting next to me on this trip to Space, I hope they like chicken and chips.”

The One Young World Summit is a UK-based not-for-profit organisation that brings together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.

Delegates also included University of Westminster Cultural and Critical Studies MA graduate Meral Duzgun who was chosen to represent  the Turkish and Kurdish community in the UK due to her academic and written activism work on the Kurdish question.

Speaking of the Summit, Meral said: “Attending the One Young World Summit in Bangkok was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. Making strong connections with like-minded, inspirational people from around the world, all striving to better the world really inspired me to continue in raising awareness of human rights issues.

“Watching Hussain perform his keynote speech blew everyone away, and he definitely made all the UK delegates feel incredibly proud. I’m already looking forward to attending the 2016 Summit in Canada – this time as a Young Ambassador.”

Taking place between 18-21 November, the One Young World Summit 2015 was also attended by Sir Bob Geldof, seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and North Korean defector and human rights activist Yeon-mi Park.

While studying at the University of Westminster, Hussain climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising thousands of pounds for charity. At present, as well as interviewing a host of influential public figures on his online channel Hussain’s House. Hussain takes time out of his schedule to visit schools across the country, speaking to young people on issues such as cyber bullying and the importance of self-expression through the arts. The Westminster graduate applied to The Rising Star Programme hoping to make a difference, and to inspire and empower younger generations. By leading discussion on a global scale, he hopes to highlight the importance of emotional and mental health, and the need to implement more emotional wellness practices within the educational system and society.

Watch Hussain’s winning keynote speech below.

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