Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES -- (Marketwired) -- May 05, 2015 -- Today, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre welcomed former NASA astronaut Dr. Donald Thomas (Ph.D), as a special guest for its Succeed Through Service program, designed to help children in the local community to imagine futures not previously envisioned, aid career exploration, and learn valuable life skills. The program is part of the luxury hotel company's global youth engagement program, and its Community Footprints social responsibility commitment.

Year 10 students from the 'environment group' at Cambridge International School (CIS), Garhoud, a long-term partner of the luxury Dubai hotel's Succeed Through Service program, attended the two-hour session with Dr. Thomas and were treated to tales of his time as an International Space Station Program Scientist, overseeing NASA experiments, and spending a total of 43 days, eight hours and 13 minutes across four missions in space, setting a new flight duration record for the Space Shuttle Program.

"As the name suggests, Succeed Through Service is all about helping young people to thrive, and inspiring them do their best," says Lothar Quarz, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC. "And who better to inspire children and open their minds than a NASA astronaut? We hope the students left the session feeling excited about the future, with a special memory that they will treasure forever."

Craig Lamshed, Principal of Cambridge International School, Dubai adds, "At CIS, like all GEMS Education Schools, we aim to offer a stimulating environment for the children to learn, as well as engaging them with the first steps of career exploration and igniting their imaginations. The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC's Succeed Through Service program perfectly complements this focus, and the unique opportunity to meet a real life NASA astronaut really is a dream come true for many of our students."

The children learned about the training required to become a NASA astronaut, and gained valuable insight into what it takes to live and work on an international space station. Dr. Thomas and the hotel's Executive Chef, Ron Pietruszka, also introduced the concept of HACCP (the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system) that originated in 1996 in space as a way of ensuring food safety in orbit, and remains today the benchmark for food safety in hotels around the world.

About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 88 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. For more information or reservations, visit the company web site at, and for the latest company updates, visit The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR).

About GEMS Education
Cambridge International School, Dubai is a part of the GEMS Education global network of schools.

GEMS Education is a pioneering education company. Through our schools, consulting practice and our charitable foundation we are advancing education for all. Every day in our schools around the world, we prepare thousands of children of all ages for real world success.

We are a catalyst and delivery partner. We work with governments, donor agencies and private clients to improve education systems, and provide vital training for young people in an increasingly competitive world.

Through the Varkey GEMS Foundation we campaign for, and support initiatives that change lives through education.

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Hannah George 
Director of Public Relations, The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC 
Email Contact
+971 (0) 55 300 4620 

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NASA Astronaut Touches Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre Special Guest 'Succeed Through Service' Program



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