Expo 2020 Dubai: EU celebrates Honour Day with gala of music and dance

Dubai - National days and honour days at the world fair are opportunities to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus international participants


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Sun 24 Oct 2021, 4:47 PM

The European Union celebrated its Honour Day at Expo 2020 Dubai on October 23 with a host of cultural performances across the site.

The event culminated with a captivating gala of classical music and dance at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre Saturday night.

A delegation led by Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission, was welcomed by Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general, Expo 2020 Dubai; and Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali, executive director, Commissioner-General Office, Expo 2020 Dubai, at the official EU Honour Day ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza.

Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali said: “Since the establishment of the UAE Embassy in Brussels in 1976, relations between the UAE and the EU have seen significant growth, based on common political and economic objectives We consider the EU to be a strategic partner in the growth of the GCC region and one of the major trading blocs with the UAE.

“We are pleased to see the EU committed to Expo 2020 Dubai. From the beginning and throughout the six months of this global event, we look forward to witnessing EU programmes and events that focus on fields of mutual interest, including renewable energy, green economy and climate change.”

Schinas attended a range of events on Saturday, including the EU-Gulf Cooperation Council Business Forum, where delegates discussed accelerating post-pandemic recovery and cooperative efforts between the EU and GCC governments and private sectors.

Speaking later in the day, Schinas said: “We're delighted that all our 27 Member States have such a powerful and impressive presence in Expo 2020, with very dynamic pavilions, many of which I visited today. This is a sign of our willingness to be present as humanity switches back to normal.

“This is a fantastic platform that the UAE gave the world by organising this amazing Expo. So my presence here on [EU Honour Day] has precisely this meaning. First, to support team Europe, because we are a team, but also to transmit the message to the authorities of the United Arab Emirates today here in Dubai … the UAE, and the Gulf region, we have so many common challenges together, and we are ready to do it together.”

National days and honour days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus international participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements.

The EU Honour Day included a raft of events across EU member pavilions, including musical interludes at the Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania pavilions, as well as site-wide ‘Opera Corner’ performances featuring young talent from across Europe.

Schinas also addressed ‘Global Harmonies’, a panel discussion on music, arts and solidarity that brought together leading names in European music at the Terra Auditorium.


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The Austria pavilion launched a photo exhibition — A Partnership of Respect — showcasing the partnership between the EU and the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) through the eyes of journalist and photographer – and UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador – Elisabetta Lattanzio Illy, while the Spain pavilion hosted an interactive and dynamic workshop on ‘Men in Feminism and Co-Responsibility’.

The packed day of events culminated with a 70-minute gala performance featuring an eclectic mix of traditional orchestral music and contemporary dance, including EU anthem Ode to Joy.

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