World leaders laud Expo 2020 as beacon of hope, resilience and international solidarity - GulfToday

World leaders laud Expo 2020 as beacon of hope, resilience and international solidarity


Visitors move around different pavilions at the Expo 2020 Dubai. Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today

In the three months since opening its doors to the world, Expo 2020 Dubai has provided a beacon of hope for millions of people from around the world who have visited and participated, both physically and virtually, bringing together the international community in a show of resilience in uncertain times.

During those months, leaders and dignitaries from across the planet have attended the event, and their praise has been glowing — labelling Expo “a beacon for global optimism” and “an incredible accomplishment”, while highlighting its “vision” and how it has provided the world with “hope and a sense of dignity” and a “ray of light”.

Expo 2020 will continue to bring the world together during challenging times, with the need for resilience continuing in the face of the global pandemic, and demonstrating that, now more than ever, we need to keep pulling together as an international community.

A key moment will see Expo host the first Global Goals Week to be held outside of the United Nations in New York from Jan.15-22 January - bringing to life the Sustainable Development Goals, as the push continues apace to create a better, fairer and more just world by 2030.

It will be the seventh Theme Week held under Expo’s flagship Programme for People and Planet, helping to drive positive action and crucial collaboration between nations from across the world, and embodying Expo’s theme and purpose of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, said: “At a time when there is a dark cloud, you have presented a real vision for what we can do to recover better, for how the world can look beyond the UAE - beyond your neighbourhood — into this global community. You’ve given hope and a sense of dignity to everyone that has participated in this Expo.”

Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles, said: “Expo 2020 is a beacon for global optimism, for responsible and sustainable world development, for nations standing together against adversity, for personal and collaborative creativity, for the unique beauty of human harmony and — most importantly — friendship, communication and recognition that — when it comes to determining a healthy future for planet Earth — we are all in this together, from the largest nation to the smallest.”

Participants are confident that Expo will spark ideas and innovations that will help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world for everyone.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, said: “Expo gives us the possibility to develop innovative solutions not just for the good of our own country but for the global market and global good. It is a true opportunity for co-creation, for innovation.

I’m confident that the partnership created here at the Expo will strengthen cooperation between Sweden and the UAE and the countries of the world, and that we will be able to generate new ideas and solutions together.”

King Letsie III, King of Lesotho, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai will succeed in its noble mission of ‘Connecting Minds’, and as a result of that achievement, an incubator will be created that will hatch sustainable solutions to our common problems — solutions that will hopefully create a more prosperous and peaceful future for us all.”

Hosting the most significant global gathering - during a pandemic - has not been easy, but world leaders praised Expo 2020 for welcoming the world in a safe and responsible manner.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, said: “We’re very happy to be here, and I want to congratulate the UAE for this Expo, because at a time when we see COVID-19, and so many threats and issues, organising the Expo here and making it a success — because it’s already a success - is good for your country. It’s good for everybody.”

Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General, ASEAN, said: “I congratulate the United Arab Emirates for successfully convening the global community together here in Dubai. By bringing the world together during this most challenging of times, the UAE demonstrates its leadership as a driving force for global cooperation and unity which is true to the theme of the World Expo 2020 of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.”

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation, said: “Pulling off the organisation of such a major event 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.”

Cooperation, resilience and solidarity will continue be of paramount importance in the second half of Expo 2020, which runs until 31st March, 2022, Expo 2020, with visitors invited to join the making of a new world in a celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

Macky Sall, President of Senegal, said: “Our world, plunged into a deep economic gloom, certainly needs this ray of light to bring back some colour and help rebuild hope for a better future. In this sense, the universal Expo is both a showcase for nations and a factor for peace and dialogue between cultures and civilisations. This is what Expo 2020 is all about.

It was round-the-clock family fun at the Expo 2020 Dubai site on Dec.31 and Jan.1 with a 13-hour party that started at 1500 GST at the New Zealand Pavilion, and continues until 0400 GST, with hourly countdowns taking place at the countries celebrating across global time zones.

Fuelled by modern East Asian cuisine and some of the best sushi in town, visitors to the Japan Pavilion have just welcomed the New Year (1900 GST), along with Palau, South Korea and Timor-Leste. Hot on their heels, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines and Singapore finished their countdown at 2000 GST, with Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam following suit at 2100 GST.

Celebrations in Europe kick off from 0300 GST. Country Pavilions from Austria to Spain — and everywhere in between - will be celebrating in a variety of engaging ways.

At the Belgium Pavilion, family-friendly restaurant BeHappy is helping diners to usher in 2022 with a smile on their faces, with traditional Belgium delights topped off by a fireworks display, and the restaurant’s terrace providing front-row seats to the pyrotechnics.

The terraces at the Portugal Pavilion and the Denmark Pavilion’s rooftop restaurant Graffiti Cocktails and bar De2Have also provided a bird’s eye view of the fireworks, with the latter pavilion inviting guests to join in a jumping game to leap into the New Year with a spring in their step.

At the Germany Pavilion, meanwhile, visitors got stuck into a cathartic karaoke session to sing their way into 2022.

Earlier in the evening, the Australia Pavilion celebrated alongside Sydney by live-streaming the country’s world-famous fireworks from Sydney Harbour, as the cast of the musical, Moulin Rouge, sang Auld Lang Syne in First Nations languages. The Saudi Arabia Pavilion’s celebrations got underway with Saudi band Sharqiya playing at the pavilion’s open square.


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