An exclusive performance - GulfToday

An exclusive performance


Guy Parmelin with Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan at the Expo 2020 Dubai on Friday.

Inayat-ur-Rahman, Business Editor

Dubai: In the presence of Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation, and  Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, Switzerland celebrated on Friday its National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai, with a series of cultural activities. On this occasion, the president visited the Swiss, UAE & Leadership pavilions and had bilateral meetings with UAE representatives including Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy. The presidential visit ended with a meeting with the pavilion’s partners.

 Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Bureau; along with Najeeb Mohammed Al Ali, Executive Directors of Commissioner General Office of Expo 2020, Marwan Obaid Al Muhairy,  Sarah Mohammed Falaknaz and Mira Sultan Al Suwaidi, FNC Members; and  Abdulla Bin Shaheen, Senior Vice President, Commissioner General Office, also attended Switzerland’s National Day celebrations.

 Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, welcomed the Swiss delegation headed by the Swiss president to the flag-raising ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza’s Stage of Nations and praised the strong relations between the UAE & Switzerland.

During his speech at Al Wasl Plaza, the Swiss President said: “On the National Day of Switzerland at Expo 2020 Dubai, we stand together in Al Wasl Plaza, heart of this impressive site, to honour and celebrate the first world exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa. Pulling off the organisation of such a major event, which gathers people from all over the world, and lasts for six months, would be a major feat at any moment in time. But, doing so in a period of uncertainty, such as the last 18 months, is an incredible accomplishment. I whole-heartedly congratulate the United Arab Emirates for making Expo 2020 Dubai a reality and thank the organizers for their sustained cooperation and kind support”.

 He said: “It pleases me to mention that Switzerland was the first country to confirm its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, back in April 2016, and the first to reveal its Pavilion to the world. With a long history of Expo participations, it is no surprise that Switzerland has won several awards for its Pavilions’ architecture, exhibits and theme interpretation”.

He added: “The UAE’s Relations with Switzerland date back to the early 1970s, during the time of the late founder of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Since then, our relations have flourished with cooperation across various fields. With an actively engaged Swiss Business Hub, the UAE is home to around 200 Swiss Companies and Switzerland continues to be one of the most important trading partners of the UAE.”

The lineup of events featured Swiss artist Saype who unveiled his project “Beyond Walls” at al Forsan Park, which is a gigantic piece of land art, and the “Cirque au Sommet” exclusive performance at Al Wasl Plaza and the Swiss Pavilion.

From his side, Manuel Salchli, Commissioner General of the Swiss Pavilion and Chairman of the Steering Committee Expo 2020 Dubai, added: “Today is very special for us as we welcome our president to celebrate Switzerland’s National Day at Expo. It is indeed a great moment to bring Switzerland closer to the people in the UAE”.

Switzerland was the first country to confirm its participation at Expo 2020 Dubai. The Swiss pavilion is located in the Opportunity District and offers an emotional journey through Switzerland. Visitors enjoy traditional Switzerland known for its magical landscapes and mountains through the “Sea of Fog” exceptional experience before discovering the country’s innovative projects and global achievements in the fields of technology, education, sustainability, etc.

In collaboration with Swissnex and in line with Expo’s thematic weeks, the Swiss Pavilion is organizing until March 2022 a series of talks, conferences, workshops and exhibitions around topics such as Urban & Rural Development, Tolerance & Inclusivity, Technology, Health & Wellness, among others.

Switzerland remains the most innovative country in the world as per the Global Innovation Index 2021 - WIPO for the 11th consecutive year. Since October 1 the pavilion welcomed more than 100K visitors from around the world and was among the top six longest queues at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Swiss Pavilion relies on a public-private partnership model, including partners: Schindler, Rolex SA, Switzerland Tourism, Clariant, Novartis, Roche, Nestlé Middle East and North Africa and KGS Diamond Group Ltd – and numerous suppliers.

Switzerland was the first country to confirm its participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Swiss Pavilion offers a unique encounter with Switzerland. It highlights Switzerland as a country of scenic beauty and a leading hub of technology and innovation by presenting the excellence of Swiss universities, start-ups and companies as well as creating joint events with local partners.

The Swiss Pavilion relies on a public-private partnership model. It promotes Switzerland’s economic capacity and attractiveness to the UAE – the most important trading partner in the Middle East. It turns the spotlight on its high quality products and services together with its partners Schindler, Rolex SA, Switzerland Tourism, Roche, Clariant, Novartis, Nestlé Middle East and North Africa and KGS Diamond Group Ltd and suppliers.

Presence Switzerland is in charge of the Swiss Pavilion. It is the unit of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for Switzerland’s image abroad and Switzerland’s official presence in international events, such as World Expos.

The selected project ‘Reflections’ was designed by the Swiss project team OOS AG (architecture), Bellprat Partner AG (scenography) and Lorenz Eugster Landscaping GmbH (landscaping) and built by General contractor Expomobilia.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Pavilion attracted hundreds of visitors and space enthusiasts during the space Week events conducted in the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. During this important week, Space experts from around the world gathered to discuss sustainable space logistics, radio astronomy, the management of space debris and educational programs for outreach amongst young people.

One of our participants, Prof. Claude Nicollier, Former and the First Swiss Astronaut, said: “It is a great pleasure for me to participate in the Space Week organized by the Swiss Pavilion and to meet other experts from around the world. It is indeed a great opportunity to highlight the Swiss achievements in the field of Space that we consider a source for inspiration, for knowledge, and for a better world tomorrow.”

Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib from EPFL discussed Sustainable Space Logistics and presented their Space Sustainability Rating, a critical subject in the context of the space industry evolving towards a predominantly commercial operation. The talk was attended by a high-level delegation from India involved in the space sector.

A guest lecture by Prof. Nicollier and Ms. Naoko Yamazaki, former JAXA astronaut, in collaboration with the Japanese Pavilion and the UAE University presented an inspiring perspective on what drives astronauts to space missions while giving glimpses of their personal experiences.

A joint workshop conducted by Ms. Emmanuelle David, EPFL eSpace, Ms. Chloé Carrière, Space@yourService and Dr. Aquib Moin of the UAE University, and in collaboration with the UAE University outlined the road to youth empowerment: space science, outreach & sustainability to students.

On the issue of rising space debris,  Luc Piguet, ClearSpace, Prof. Moriba Jah, University of Texas at Austin and Prof. Thomas Schildknecht, University of Bern conducted a panel discussion under the subject - Space Debris: Knowledge creation & Problem solving. The session was attended by a high level delegation of the Brazilian space agency. The Space week was organized in collaboration with Swissnex, the global network connecting Switzerland and the world in education, research, and innovation, EPFL Space Centre (eSpace), ClearSpace, Space@yourService, UAE University, the Australian, Japanese and the Indian pavilions.

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